Did Chris Rock know Jada has alopecia? Exploring how the comedian's 'GI Jane' joke led to a slap from Will Smith

Chris Rock was reportedly unaware of Jada Pinkett Smith's alopecia before making the G.I. Jane joke at Oscars 2022 (Image via Karwai Tang/Getty Images and Myung Chun/Getty Images)
Chris Rock was reportedly unaware of Jada Pinkett Smith's alopecia before making the G.I. Jane joke at Oscars 2022 (Image via Karwai Tang/Getty Images and Myung Chun/Getty Images)

Chris Rock was reportedly unaware of Jada Pinkett Smith’s alopecia before making a joke about her shaved head that led to Will Smith slapping him during the 2022 Oscars ceremony.

Sources close to the comedian told TMZ that he “doesn't have a mean bone in his body” and had no idea about Jada’s medical condition. However, the Gotham actress has been public and vocal about her longtime struggle with alopecia.

Following the Oscars incident, rapper Diddy told Page Six that Smith and Rock are “brothers” and will work through their issues. However, insiders told TMZ that the duo have not spoken since the slapping fiasco.

A close friend of Rock also told the publication that the comedian had "no intention of staying" even before his exchange with Smith. Sources mentioned that Rock was "shaken and bewildered" by Smith’s actions and was immediately escorted out of the Oscars ceremony.

The SNL alum then visited Guy Oseary’s Oscars afterparty and spent time with some of his close friends.

Meanwhile, another source close to Diddy told the outlet that the rapper never claimed that Will Smith and Chris Rock met after the Oscars fiasco. Instead, they spoke to them individually before discussing the situation on stage.


A look into the moment that led to Will Smith and Chris Rock’s Oscars controversy

Will Smith slapped Chris Rock after the latter made a joke about Jada Pinkette Smith's shaved head (Image via Myung Chun/Getty Images)
Will Smith slapped Chris Rock after the latter made a joke about Jada Pinkette Smith's shaved head (Image via Myung Chun/Getty Images)

On Sunday night, Chris Rock went onstage to present the award for Best Documentary Feature at the 94th Academy Awards. However, the comedian decided to joke about Jada Pinkett Smith’s shaved head before proceeding with his presenting duties.

The 57-year-old compared Pinkett Smith’s appearance with Demi Moore’s 1997 character G.I. Jane and said:

“Jada, I love you. GI Jane 2, can't wait to see you.”

Pinkett Smith was spotted rolling her eyes at the joke while sitting beside her husband, Will Smith. Although the latter initially met the joke with a laugh, his wife’s disappointed reaction prompted the actor to go onstage before slapping Rock across the face.

When Chris Rock responded to the situation by saying, “It was a GI Jane joke,” Smith replied:

“Keep my wife's name out of your f***ing mouth.”

The moment left the entire entertainment industry in shock and has continued to make headlines in consecutive days.

Shortly after the onstage drama, Smith received the Best Actor award for King Richard and tearfully apologized to The Academy and his fellow nominees before speaking about defending his family:

“Love will make you do crazy things. Thank you to the Academy. I hope you will have me back.”

Will Smith also stated the incident on social media and apologized to Chris Rock for his behavior. The latter is yet to provide an official statement about the situation, but he reportedly declined to press legal charges against Smith.


Exploring Jada Pinkett Smith’s struggle with alopecia

Jada Pinkett Smith has long been vocal about her struggle with alopecia (Image via David Livingston/Getty Images)
Jada Pinkett Smith has long been vocal about her struggle with alopecia (Image via David Livingston/Getty Images)

Jada Pinkett Smith first opened up about her alopecia during a 2018 episode of her show Red Table Talk. At the time, she said the condition was terrifying when it first began:

“I was in the shower one day and had just handfuls of hair in my hands and I was just like, ‘Oh my god, am I going bald?' It was one of those times in my life where I was literally shaking in fear... That's why I cut my hair, and why I continue to cut it.”

After several years of sporting a cropped haircut, Pinkett Smith decided to shave her head last year. She also posted an Instagram video showing a bald line on her head due to the condition:

“Y'all know I've been struggling with alopecia and just all of a sudden one day, look at this line right here. Look at that! It just showed up like that and this is going to be a little bit more difficult to hide, so I thought I'd just share it so y'all are not asking any questions.”

According to The Mayo Clinic, alopecia is a condition that causes excessive hair loss from the scalp and other parts of the body. The condition is generally caused due to heredity, hormonal changes, medical conditions, or aging and can be temporary or permanent.

Following Will Smith and Chris Rock’s Oscars controversy surrounding Jada Pinkett Smith’s condition, several people like Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley, Children’s Alopecia Project founder Jeff Woytovich and poet Golden urged others to raise awareness about alopecia.

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Edited by Srijan Sen