According to Decider, Rock fired off a biting joke about hate-watching Smith’s new slave film during a recent show at the Hippodrome Theatre in Baltimore, telling the crowd: “The other day, I watched Emancipation just so I could watch him getting whipped.”
The 58-year-old also reportedly mentioned Smith’s portrayal of Muhammad Ali in the 2001 biopic Ali, contrasting it with his own role as the homeless drug addict Pookie in 1991’s New Jack City.
“The thing people wanna know … did it hurt? Hell yeah, it hurt,” he said. “He played Muhammad Ali! I played Pookie. Even in animated movies I’m a zebra, he’s a fucking shark.”
Such material is expected to be included in Chris Rock’s upcoming Netflix special, Selective Outrage, which premieres on Saturday (March 4).
According to Page Six, Rock has been “waiting to spill his humorous take on” Will Smith’s infamous Oscars slap, which was sparked by a G.I. Jane 2 joke about his wife Jada Pinkett Smith’s Alopecia.
Even the title itself may be a dig at the Fresh Prince. “Will Smith practices selective outrage,” Rock reportedly told the crowd at his aforementioned Baltimore show. “People who are in the know, know that shit had nothing to do with me.”
While Chris Rock has yet to publicly address the slap outside of his stand-up sets, Will Smith has been openly remorseful.
Shortly after the incident, the Oscar-winner issued a statement apologizing to Rock and the Academy, admitting his behaviour was “unacceptable and inexcusable.”
That was followed by an earnest apology video in July 2022, in which he extended his regrets to Chris Rock’s family and revealed he had spent months unpacking the “nuances” and “complexities” of his outburst.
“Disappointing people is my central trauma,” Smith said. “I hate when I let people down. It hurts me psychologically and emotionally to know I didn’t live up to people’s image and impression of me. I made a mistake, and I’m trying not to think of myself as a piece of shit.
“So I would say to those people, I know it was confusing, I know it was shocking, but I promise you I am deeply devoted and committed to putting light and love and joy into the world. If you hang on, I promise we’ll be able to be friends again.”
However, as the one-year anniversary of the slap approaches, it appears Will Smith has begun to see the funny side of it. Last month, the actor made light of the moment in TikTok video, which saw him participate in an “unhinged exercise” encouraging people to pick up an object and ask how it sees or thinks of them.
The woman behind the challenge claimed people would get an answer back in their minds through their intuition. An intrigued Smith grabbed the Oscar he won at the 2022 ceremony, looked at it and seemed to struggle to ask the question before the clip purposely cut off.