Chris Cross | 

Celebs react to 'ugliest Oscar moment ever' as Will Smith slaps Chris Rock onstage

Smith, who won his first Academy Award for King Richard on Sunday night, appeared to take offence to a joke Rock made about Pinkett Smith’s short haircut.

Will Smith (right) slaps Chris Rock following a remark Rock made during the 94th Academy Awards in Hollywood, Los Angeles, last night. Photo: Reuters/Brian Snyder

Neasa Cumiskey and PA Media

Will Smith’s son Jaden and director Judd Apatow are among the stars who expressed both shock and support after the Hollywood actor hit Chris Rock on stage at the Oscars.

Smith, who won his first Academy Award for King Richard on Sunday night, appeared to take offence to a joke Rock made about Pinkett Smith’s short haircut, which she has as a result of her struggles with alopecia.

Referring to Pinkett Smith’s buzzcut, Rock said: “Jada, can’t wait for GI Jane 2”, prompting the actress to roll her eyes

However, Smith walked up on stage and appeared to hit Rock before returning to his seat and shouting twice: “Keep my wife’s name out of your f****** mouth."

The altercation left Rock shocked and flustered as he tried to resume presenting the best documentary feature category.

Shortly after the incident, tennis star Serena Williams shared a video on her Instagram story showing her looking shocked.

In a second clip, the sportswoman admitted she “had to put her drink down.”

Jaden Smith (23) tweeted: “And That’s How We Do It” after his father’s on-stage altercation before telling his followers that his father’s acceptance speech had made him cry.

Comedian and actor Tiffany Haddish also showed her support for Smith after the altercation.

Speaking to People Magazine after the ceremony, she said: “When I saw a black man stand up for his wife, that meant so much to me.

“As a woman, who has been unprotected, for someone to say, ‘Keep my wife's name out your mouth, leave my wife alone,’ that's what your husband is supposed to do, right? Protect you.”

She continued: “And that meant the world to me. And maybe the world might not like how it went down, but for me, it was the most beautiful thing I've ever seen because it made me believe that there are still men out there that love and care about their women, their wives.”

Comedian Kathy Griffin suggested Smith’s actions set a bad precedent for her profession.

She said on Twitter: “Let me tell you something, it’s a very bad practice to walk up on stage and physically assault a comedian. Now we all have to worry about who wants to be the next Will Smith in comedy clubs and theatres.”

Star Wars actor Mark Hamill dubbed it the “ugliest Oscar moment ever” and said: “Stand-up comics are very adept at handling hecklers. Violent physical assault… not so much.”

And in a now-deleted tweet, director and screenwriter Judd Apatow said: “He could have killed him. That’s pure out of control rage and violence. They’ve heard a million jokes about them in the last three decades. They are not freshman in the world of Hollywood and comedy. He lost his mind.

“Seems like Will Smith’s plan to get comedian and the world to not make jokes about him is not going to pan out. The Williams family must be furious. Pure narcissism,” he added.

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