Chris Rock has reportedly refused an invitation to host the 2023 Oscars after Will Smith slapped the actor on stage back in March, according to the Arizona Republic.
Entertaining a sold-out crowd at a comedy set at the Arizona Theater in Phoenix, the actor compared returning to the Oscars to going a crime scene again—while making a reference to the 1995 murder trial of O.J. Simpson.
Chris Rock also reportedly referenced Will Smith’s performance at the Oscars in the 2001 drama Ali, where Smith played the legendary boxer and received his first Academy nomination. The actor went on, “He’s bigger than me. The state of Nevada would not sanction a fight between me and Will Smith.”
Chris Rock hosted the Academy in 2005 and 2016. The infamous incident of Smith slapping Rock after he joked about his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, stunned Hollywood. It took place moments before Rock was about to present the Best Documentary Feature award and over an hour before Smith won the Academy for Best Actor.
Later in April, the Academy Board banned Smith from returning to Hollywood’s prestigious ceremony for ten years. The announcement came after the actor publicly resigned from the Academy.