According to an eyewitness, Hart, 43, kicked off his Reality Check tour earlier this month, referring to the incident briefly during his set. “Will Smith didn’t plan that s–t,” the Pennsylvania native said during his stand-up show on Saturday, July 9, in Atlantic City at Hard Rock Hotel and Casino.
Hart made the joke after he reflected on the “crazy” behavior that people exhibited in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. The insider noted to Us Weekly that the Night School actor repeated multiple times that Smith, 53, “didn’t plan” to slap Rock, 57. The joke received lots of laughter from the audience.
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air alum shocked people in March when he hit Rock at the 94th annual Academy Awards. After the comedian made a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith‘s shaved head, Smith walked on stage and slapped the comedian. The Girls Trip star, 50, who has been candid about her alopecia diagnosis, rolled her eyes at the comment ahead of her husband’s response.
“Will Smith just smacked the s—t out of me,” the South Carolina native said in censored footage that later circulated online. As the King Richard star returned to his seat, he was heard yelling at Rock to “keep my wife’s name out your f—king mouth.”
One day later, Smith issued an apology for his “unacceptable and inexcusable” actions. “I would like to publicly apologize to you, Chris,” he wrote via Instagram. “I was out of line and I was wrong. I am embarrassed and my actions were not indicative of the man I want to be. There is no place for violence in a world of love and kindness.”
The actor added: “I would also like to apologize to The Academy, the producers of the show, all the attendees and everyone watching around the world. I would like to apologize to the Williams Family and my King Richard Family. I deeply regret that my behavior has stained what has been an otherwise gorgeous journey for all of us.”
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, for their part, later confirmed that Smith would be banned from all Oscars events for 10 years following his resignation.
That same month, the former Saturday Night Live cast member reflected on the situation during his own comedy set. “Life is good. I got my hearing back,” he joked in April. “I’m OK, I have a whole show and I’m not talking about that until I get paid.”
A second source previously told Us that Smith is attempting to face the consequences of his actions. “He feels terrible and is trying not to panic, but seeing his roles put on ice has been a hugely bitter pill to swallow,” an insider revealed in April. “His biggest fear is that he’s in the process of being fully canceled, and there’s nothing he can really do about it except sit back, suck up his punishment like a man and try to atone however he can.”
With reporting by Diana Cooper
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