Chris Rock rejected offer to host 2023 Oscars after Will Smith slap

Cameron Frew
Chris Rock after Will Smith slapped him at the Oscars

Chris Rock turned down an offer to host the 2023 Oscars following Will Smith’s infamous slap.

This year’s Academy Awards went down in history. Yes, there were momentous wins, like CODA getting Best Picture and Jane Campion joining the small echelon of female Best Director winners – but you know that’s not what we’re talking about.

On March 28, Hollywood stood still after Will Smith took to the stage and smacked Chris Rock in the face after he made a “G.I. Jane 2” joke about Jada Pinkett Smith. Left bewildered as cameras were still rolling, Smith then warned the comedian to “keep [his] wife’s name out [his] f**king mouth.”

The fallout was relentless, with weeks of reactions and speculation. Smith apologized, was banned from the Oscars for 10 years, and apologized again.

Chris Rock turned down 2023 Oscars after Will Smith slap

In the wake of the incident, Rock was offered the opportunity to host the Oscars ceremony next year, as reported by Deadline. This wouldn’t be the comedian’s first time, having hosted the event in 2005 and 2016.

During a recent show at the Arizona Financial Theater in Phoenix, Rock confirmed the offer, as well as his rejection. He also revealed he was offered a Super Bowl commercial, and knocked that back too.

As per the Arizona Republic, Rock said a return to the Oscars would be like asking Nicole Brown Simpson to “go back to the restaurant”, referencing O.J. Simpson’s ex-wife leaving a pair of sunglasses at a restaurant before her death.

Rock didn’t speak about the slap at length, brushing off the crowd’s demands to “talk about it” and also referencing Smith’s role as Muhammad Ali in an earlier biopic.

“He’s bigger than me. The state of Nevada would not sanction a fight between me and Will Smith,” Rock said.

In a video apology posted in July, Smith said: “Chris, I apologize to you. My behavior was unacceptable and I’m here whenever you’re ready to talk.”