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Will Smith strikes Chris Rock in viral moment

Will Smith's best actor win for #KingRichard is the crowning glory of a wide-ranging career for the former "Fresh Prince" -- but the night is likely to be remembered more for him slapping comedian Chris Rock on stage
Will Smith's best actor win for #KingRichard is the crowning glory of a wide-ranging career for the former "Fresh Prince" -- but the night is likely to be remembered more for him slapping comedian Chris Rock on stage

Hollywood - Actor Will Smith stormed the Oscars stage and struck comedian Chris Rock across the face for joking about his wife, in a moment at Sunday's gala that immediately went viral -- and left attendees and viewers stunned.


Rock, presenting the best documentary prize with a short comedy routine, had cracked a joke comparing Jada Pinkett Smith's tightly cropped hair to Demi Moore's appearance in the film "G.I. Jane" and suggested she appear in a sequel.


In a moment that triggered awkward silence and confusion in the Dolby Theatre, Smith strode up to Rock and slapped him, before returning to his seat alongside Jada and shouting profanities.


"Keep my wife's name out of your fucking mouth," yelled Smith, forcing the producers to bleep out several seconds of audio from the televised broadcast in the United States.


The Los Angeles Police Department said it was "aware" of the incident that "involved one individual slapping another," but that "the individual involved has declined to file a police report."


"If the involved party desires a police report at a later date, LAPD will be available to complete an investigative report," read the department statement obtained by AFP.


After the gala ended, the Academy tweeted that it "does not condone violence of any form," without directly referring to the incident.


"Tonight we are delighted to celebrate our 94th Academy Awards winners, who deserve this moment of recognition from their peers and movie lovers around the world."


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