When defining the violent episode which starred Will Smith and Chris Rock and which surprised everyone present at the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles during the last Academy Awards, billy crystal no beating around the bush. “it was a crime”, qualified who on nine occasions officiated as host of the glamorous episode.
Guest on the show Who talks to CNN+’s Chris Wallace, Crystal analyzed what happened on stage, and did not hesitate to strongly criticize the two protagonists of the scandal. First, analyzed the joke Chris Rock made about Jada Pinkett Smith’s alopecia and called it “not very good”. “Why play with her? At the time, it seemed to me that the joke had no place,” he said.
He added: “I love Chris. We are friends and I respect him a lot, but honestly I felt what he said was wrong. the protagonist of When Harry Met Sally He said that, like millions of people across the planet, he was watching the ceremony live and was surprised to see Will Smith walking towards the stage, with a slow walk and a strange smile on his face.
“What happened next was horrible and it’s a crime“, he fired, without half measure, on the strong slap that Smith gave to the comedian, in front of the cameras, annoyed by the joke he had just made on his wife’s alopecia. He added: “Fortunately he didn’t hit him with a closed fist.”
Regarding Rock’s reaction to the incident, he said, “I think Chris behaved as best he could and held his own. It was a shocking moment where I was very worried about Will’s state of mind. I was very worried and shocked by the consequences of this too”.
In another interview, given to Bob Costas in the HBO Max series Back to the case, The actor had described the scandalous fact as “a very disturbing incident”. And, in addition, he recalled his experience as a host during the big night in Hollywood. “It was an attack. I had similar experiences. Three times objects were thrown at me.”.
“The amazing Gil Cates was the producer for six of the nine ceremonies I hosted at the Oscars. Together, during pre-production on the show, we went over the script summary and he said to me: ‘Maybe I should be there because something might happen,'” he recalled.
For Crystal, the presence of a host on stage brings an element of control to the event. “I prepared to present the ceremony. I really prepared myself, so that it had cohesion. So whenever I watch shows that don’t have a host…yes it’s faster and maybe smoother but there’s no one to take advantage of anything and give to the public the feeling that someone is in charge.” . Last edition, there was not a single host; actresses Amy Schumer, Regina Hall and Wanda Sykes filled the role.
As an example, Crystal recalled a time when she was hosting the Grammy Awards. Comedian Jackie Mason, from the stage, made an “incendiary” comment. Then Little Richard came and continued on the same line. At that point, Crystal was dispatched to calm things down and decided to decompress the situation with a joke.
When Rock received the slap from his colleague, he was alone on stage. To the astonishment of the presenter himself and everyone present in the room, Smith jumped up in his seat and shouted, “Keep my wife’s name out of your fucking mouth!” No one knew what to do and it was Rock himself who had the clout to push the show forward, revealing the winner of the category he was to present.
a few minutes later, Smith would return to the stage, to receive the Best Actor award for his performance in King Richard: a winning family. the protagonist of men in black he would make, in his acceptance speech, the only allusion to what had just happened. With eyes full of tears, he apologized to those present and assured that love sometimes leads to madness.
After several twists and turns, the authorities of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Hollywood decided to ban Smith’s presence for a decade at any event organized by the entityincluding the Oscar ceremonies.