Taking sides: Celebrities react to Will Smith slap

LOS ANGELES — In the minutes and hours after a joke prompted a violent reaction at the 94th Academy Awards, celebrities took to social media to denounce both Will Smith’s reaction and Chris Rock’s comment.

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Will Smith, who won the Best Actor award just minutes after the incident, left his seat in the audience and went on stage, where he struck comedian Chris Rock. Rock was on stage presenting the award for Best Documentary Feature, and made a joke about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith.

Many celebrities focused on the violence, immediately condemning Smith’s behavior.

In a since-deleted tweet, writer and director Judd Apatow said of Smith, “He could have killed (Rock). 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.”

Kathy Griffin, a comedian who was famously targeted for a joke about former President Donald Trump, posted 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 theaters.”

Actress Mia Farrow took to Twitter, saying, “It was just a joke. Jokes are what Chris Rock does. Always has been edgy. This was a mild joke for him. And i love GI Jane.”

Actress and director Sophia Bush appeared to see both sides of the conflict, saying, “Violence isn’t ok. Assault is never the answer. Also? This is the 2nd time that Chris has made fun of Jada on the #Oscars stage, & tonight he went after her alopecia. Punching down at someone’s auto-immune disease is wrong. Doing so on purpose is cruel. They both need a breather.”

Singer Liam Payne told Good Morning Britain, “I believe whatever he felt that he did, he had that right to do,” and also said he had to leave his chair because the moment was so emotionally fraught.

The Los Angeles Police Department released a statement saying it would not investigate or pursue charges against Smith because Rock did not file a report, NBC News reported.

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