White House: Biden Didn't See Will Smith-Chris Rock Fray, Has No Comment Will Smith, right, hits Chris Rock onstage during the 94th Oscars at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, California on March 27. (Robyn Beck/Getty Images)
By Sandy Fitzgerald | Wednesday, 30 March 2022 07:35 AM
President Joe Biden didn't watch the Oscars, so he doesn't have any official comment on the on-stage altercation between best-actor winner Will Smith, who attacked comedian Chris Rock on stage Sunday night after he'd commented on Smith's wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, according to White House communications director Kate Bedingfield.
"I know the president was not able to watch the Oscars — didn't see it," Bedingfield said in response to a question Tuesday from journalist Simon Ateba of Today News Africa during Tuesday afternoon's press briefing, reports The New York Post. "I don't have any official comment from the White House on the altercation."
Ateba told Bedingfield that the incident is "the biggest story right now," and asked her if the "level of violence that was unleashed on Chris Rock" is "that something that the White House condones — that type of violence? Do you condemn it? And do you do anything to support comedians who have been attacked and other artists?"
He then followed up, asking her "do you condemn the violence at the Oscars? Is that something that you condemn?" and she repeated, "I don't have a White House comment on that."
Biden returned to the White House early Sunday morning after three days in Europe which included high-profile meetings with European leaders over the situation in Ukraine, and after his speech Saturday in Warsaw, where he decried Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The Smith-Rock altercation occurred after Rock referred to Smith's wife, who suffers from alopecia, a hair loss disorder, as "G.I. Jane." Smith hit Rock in the face, but the comedian did not fight back and has said he will not be pressing charges. Smith has since apologized to the comedian and the Academy Awards for his actions.
Bedingfield was running Tuesday's press briefing after press secretary Jen Psaki tested positive for COVID-19 last week and deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre tested positive for the disease Sunday after returning from Europe with Biden.
Former President Donald Trump often commented on pop culture happenings through posts on his Twitter account, notes The Post, before he was banned last year on the platform. Biden, however, does not usually write his own tweets.