Howard Stern Defends Chris Rock After Will Smith's Attack Howard Stern inducts Bon Jovi on stage during the 33rd Annual Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony in 2018. (Kevin Kane/Getty Images For The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame)
By Jack Gournell | Monday, 28 March 2022 08:08 PM
Radio host Howard Stern said Monday he was "disturbed" by Will Smith's attack on Chris Rock at the Oscars on Sunday and said he must suffer from mental illness.
"This is a sign of great mental illness when you can’t control your impulse," Stern said Monday on his SiriusXM show. "Not only that, it was hardly an insulting joke. It was not even a good joke,” Stern said.
Rock angered Smith when he made a joke about the shaved head of his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, saying, "Jada, I love you, 'G.I. Jane 2,' can't wait to see it."
Smith then walked onstage, hit Rock and returned to his seat, twice saying, "Keep my wife's name out of your f***ing mouth!"
“The joke, quite frankly, was beneath Chris Rock. It was a throwaway. ‘You look like G.I. Jane,’” Stern said, adding that Smith appeared to be "a guy who’s got real issues."
"He didn’t think twice about what he was about to do," Stern said. "Now that’s crazy, when you can’t contain yourself like that."
Rock "got up and he compared Jada Pinkett Smith to one of the most beautiful women in the world, Demi Moore," Stern said. "You don’t hit people over speech, certainly not at the Academy Awards, and Will Smith’s got to contain himself."
Stern described Rock as a "gentle soul" and "not a fighter." He was just trying to do his job, while Smith was "clearly insane," Stern said.
"Poor Chris Rock is a comedian and just trying to get through the day to make the f***ing people laugh at that horrible ceremony,” Stern said. Rock, he added, is "so fast comedy wise, he actually covered and made a joke and said, 'Gee, best Oscars yet.'"
Stern also was unhappy that no one took action to intervene, and just let Smith continue sitting near the stage for the rest of the ceremony. He later won for Best Actor.
"Here’s Hollywood that’s so outraged by every little thing. Not one person got up and said, 'Hold on, we got an out-of-control situation here,'" Stern said.
"How this guy was allowed to sit there for the rest of the awards, and he’s laughing it up and having a good time with his wife. What he did was he just assaulted Chris Rock."
When Smith won the Best Actor award for "King Richard," he apologized for the incident, but did not mention Rock.
"I want to apologize to all of my fellow nominees. This is a beautiful moment, and I’m not crying for winning an award," he said. "Love will make you do crazy things."
Smith did issue an apology Monday night to Rock, saying that violence is always wrong.