1 of 2 | Will Smith (L) and Jada Pinkett Smith arrive for the 94th annual Academy Awards in Los Angeles on Sunday. Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo
March 27 (UPI) -- Will Smith won the Best Actor Oscar for his role in King Richard on Sunday, moments after appearing to hit Chris Rock in the face because the comedian made a joke about Smith's wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, during the live ABC broadcast.
The incident occurred as Rock was presenting the Best Documentary award.
"Jada, love you, G.I. Jane 2, can't wait to see it," Rock teased.
That's when Smith walked up on stage and seemingly hit the comedian in the face.
"Wow! Will Smith just smacked the [expletive] out of me," Rock said as Smith returned to his seat.
"Keep my wife's name out of your [expletive] mouth," Smith yelled at Rock as the crowd laughed nervously.
"Wow! Dude, it was a G.I. Jane joke," Rock said, referring to Pinkett Smith's close-cropped hairdo.
"Keep my wife's name out of your [expletive] mouth," Smith repeated.
"I'm going to, OK? OK?" Rock said, smiling and shaking his head. "That was the greatest night in the history of television."
In a statement emailed to UPI, the Los Angeles Police Department said it was aware of the incident and that Rock has declined to press charges.
"The individual involved has declined to file a police report," it said. "If the involved party desires a police report at a later date, LAPD will be available to complete an investigation."
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences posted a comment to Twitter, stating without mentioning either Rock or Smith that "The Academy does not condone violence in any form."
"Tonight, we are delighted to celebrate our 94th Academy Awards winners, who deserve this moment of recognition form their peers and move lovers around the world," it said.
UPI has contacted the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for further comment.
Pinkett Smith has been candid about her battle with the hair-loss condition alopecia and has been sporting a shaved head in recent months.
"I want to apologize to the Academy. I want to apologize to all my fellow nominees," Smith said in his Oscars acceptance speech. "Love will make you do crazy things."
He also quoted double Oscar winner Denzel Washington as telling him after the altercation with Rock that: "At your highest moment, be careful. That's when the devil comes for you."
Pinkett Smith and Rock previously voiced roles in the animated Madagascar film series.