Chris Rock says he turned down an invitation to host the 2023 Academy Awards after being slapped by Will Smith during this year’s ceremony in March.
According to the Arizona Republic, the actor, 57, equated returning to the Oscars to returning to the scene of a crime during a comedy set at the Arizona Financial Theatre in Phoenix, Arizona, on Sunday.
The actress previously presented the Academy Awards in 2005 and 2016.
Earlier this month, new Academy CEO Bill Kramer stated that the incident will not be revisited during next year’s ceremony.
“We want to move forward and to have an Oscars that celebrates cinema. That’s our focus right now. But it’s really about moving forward,” said Kramer.
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In March, Rock while presenting the best documentary prize had cracked a joke comparing Jada Pinkett Smith’s tightly cropped hair referencing Demi Moore’s appearance in the film “G.I. Jane” and suggesting she appear in a sequel.
In a moment that triggered awkward silence and confusion in the Dolby Theatre, Smith strode up to Rock and slapped him.
The “King Richard” star apologized to Rock in a statement on Instagram the following day. He went on to post an apology video on his social media accounts July 29. In the video, he apologised directly to Rock and his family.
Rock has not officially commented on the televised physical assault, but has referenced the slap onstage in several stops of his latest comedy tour.
“Everybody is trying to be a f*cking victim,” Rock said during a show at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta in July. “If everybody claims to be a victim, then nobody will hear the real victims. Even me getting smacked by Suge Smith . I went to work the next day, I got kids.”
“Anyone who says words hurt has never been punched in the face,” Rock added at the time.
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