LOS ANGELES - It was the slap heard around the world.
During Sunday night's Academy Awards show, Will Smith made headlines for smacking comedian Chris Rock after he made a bad joke about his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, while presenting on stage. The video has gone viral, but now some are wondering if the moment was staged.
A clip of the viral smack has been slowed down and has many social media viewers questioning if this was a publicity stunt or a real hit out of anger.
WAS THE OSCARS SLAP REAL OR FAKE?
A Twitter user posted the slowed-down version with the caption: "Chris Rock grimacing for what he knows is coming.
"His hand barely grazed him. Actors, especially action actors like Will Smith, know how to pull a punch (or slap) This was staged."
The clip has left the internet divided.
"This is what I have been saying too. Oscars are so dead, nobody cares. Yet it's all everyone is talking about today. Hmmmm," said @DogeDontPlay.
Twitter user @RealCobraLily commented: "This proves that it was staged! Chris starts to pull his head back a little bit early! If Smith even touched Chris it was on the chin, but it looks like a rehearsed stunt."
Others say the slap was real.
"Please give me a reason why they would stage this?" wrote one commenter.
@ClayTravis said: "Honestly, Chris Rock taking an open handed undefended hit live on TV from a dude way bigger than him and finishing the awards presentation is the most impressive thing he’s ever done in his career."
WILL SMITH SLAPS CHRIS ROCK AT OSCARS
The exchange began on Sunday when Rock took aim at Pinkett Smith’s shaved head, saying, "Jada, I love you. ‘G.I. Jane 2,’ can’t wait to see it, all right?" Rock’s reference was made from the 1997 film "G.I. Jane," starring Demi Moore, who shaved her head to portray a fictional Navy SEAL candidate.
Pinkett Smith revealed in 2018 that she was diagnosed with alopecia areata, a condition when the immune system attacks hair follicles and causes hair loss. She has often discussed the challenges of hair loss on Instagram and other social media platforms.
The joke did not sit well with Will Smith, who later returned to the Oscars stage to accept his first-ever Academy Award for his role as tennis dad character Richard Williams in "King Richard" and delivered a tearful apology to several people — excluding Rock.
Rock has reportedly declined to press charges, according to Los Angeles police.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.