Serena Williams’ reaction to Will Smith hitting Chris Rock at the Oscars has started to go viral. The tennis star was in attendance to watch Smith win the Academy Award for playing her father, Richard Williams, in the title ‘King Richard’. But the event was overshadowed by an act of violence on the stage.
Smith had never won an Oscar throughout his career prior to Sunday night.
But the Men in Black and Fresh Prince of Bel Air star finally struck gold, claiming the ‘best actor’ award for his role in King Richard.
While it should have been a moment of jubilation for the star, however, it’s now been overshadowed by his act of violence towards presenting Rock mere moments earlier.
Rock made a joke about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, appearing in ‘GI: Jane 2’ in reference to her shaved head – referencing the hairstyle Demi Moore sported in the 1997 blockbuster.
Pinkett Smith suffers from alopecia and she was visibly unhappy at Rock’s comments, rolling her eyes.
Smith, who appeared to initially laugh, then proceeded to get up on stage and strike the presenter in the face – before wearing and telling the comedian to keep his wife’s name out of his mouth.
And Williams, who was in attendance, was lost for words.
She shared a clip on her Instagram page of her just standing there with her mouth wide open, reeling from what she’d witnessed.
“I just sat down because I was like…erm…I gotta’ put that drink down,” she said.
Williams wasn’t the only person in attendance stunned by Smith’s actions, with other celebrities also left perplexed.
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Ryan Gosling stifled a smirk, while the Rock, Meryl Streep and Nicole Kidman all looked baffled at what they’d just seen.
Smith was tearful when he won the award and apologized for hitting Rock, while also labeling his success as a ‘beautiful moment’.
He said: “I want to apologise to The Academy, I want to apologise to all my fellow nominees.
“This is a beautiful moment.”
Smith also revealed details of a conversation he had with Denzel Washington shortly after striking Rock.
“Denzel said to me a few minutes ago ‘in your highest moments, be careful, that’s when the devil comes for you’.”
Smith is now at risk of losing his Oscar, though, due to guidelines in The Academy’s ‘Standards of Conduct’ guidelines.
They read: “In addition to achieving excellence in the field of motion picture arts and sciences, members must also behave ethically by upholding the Academy’s values of respect for human dignity, inclusion, and a supportive environment that fosters creativity.
“There is no place in the Academy for people who abuse their status, power or influence in a manner that violates recognized standards of decency.
“The Academy is categorically opposed to any form of abuse, harassment or discrimination on the basis of gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, disability, age, religion, or nationality.
“The Board of Governors believes that these standards are essential to the Academy’s mission and reflective of our values.”
The Academy also addressed the incident on Sunday, saying: “The Academy does not condone violence of any form.
“Tonight we are delighted to celebrate our 94th Academy Awards winners, who deserve this moment of recognition from their peers and movie lovers around the world.”