The 2022 Oscars definitely packed a punch — even for its producer.
“Welp … I said it wouldn’t be boring,” Will Packer, the producer of the 94th Academy Awards, tweeted Sunday night after Will Smith stormed onstage during the live show and slapped Chris Rock. Smith made the move after the comedian made a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith’s bald head, which is due to the medical condition alopecia.
But Packer’s tweet following the smackdown was not received well by social media users.
“Making jokes about an assault that happened during your show isn’t the congratulatory message you think it is,” Twitter user Jonathan Jewel replied to Packer’s initial tweet.
However, the producer, who is black, wasn’t going to allow viewers to criticize him, and explained in a follow-up statement that the altercation was “very painful” for him to witness.
“Black people have a defiant spirit of laughter when it comes to dealing with pain because there has been so much of it. I don’t feel the need to elucidate that for you,” Packer commented on Jewel’s tweet. “But I also don’t mind being transparent and say that this was a very painful moment for me. On many levels.”
Following the televised altercation, the academy itself tweeted a condemnation of “violence of any form,” and has since said it will start a “formal review” of what happened.
Smith’s slap was followed by the profanity-filled demand that Rock “keep my wife’s name out of your f–king mouth!,” as well as other celebrities — including Denzel Washington, Tyler Perry and Bradley Cooper — stepping in to help ease tensions.
Many people were quick to criticize Packer and his production team for allowing “King Richard” star Smith to stay in the audience and later accept the award for Best Actor.
After the viral moment, Packer was seemingly put in a difficult position, having personal relationships with both Rock and actress Pinkett Smith, who starred in the Packer-produced hit movie “Girls Trip.” His turn running the legendary awards show was also the first time in history that an all-black production team was tasked with the job.
The Smiths and Rock have reportedly been on the outs since the comedian first took hits at the actors while hosting the 2016 Oscars. However, many celebrities and fans are split on having empathy for Smith’s violent reaction.