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Chris Rock apology for Oscars joke is fake

March 29, 2022 GMT

CLAIM: Comedian Chris Rock issued a public apology for his joke about actress Jada Pinkett Smith’s shaved head at the Academy Awards, saying he “crossed a line that I shouldn’t have and paid the enormous price of my reputation as a renown comedian.”

AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. This apology is fake and didn’t come from Rock, a representative for the comedian told The Associated Press in an email.

THE FACTS: Actor Will Smith’s decision to march onstage and slap presenter Chris Rock after Rock made a joke about Smith’s wife upended Sunday’s 94th Academy Awards, leading to strong opinions from viewers and a public apology from Smith the next day.

However, Rock had not publicly apologized for his joke as of Tuesday afternoon, despite a fake apology attributed to him that has amassed millions of views online.

The fake apology, which included several spelling errors, spread across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter with social media users sharing it as a quoted statement.

“As a comedian it can be difficult to understand which lines are to be crossed and which ones aren’t,” the fake statement read. “Last night I crossed a line that I shouldn’t have and paid the enormous price of my reputation as a renown comedian. Comedy is never about poking fun at or making lite of people with major ordeals happening in their lives. Comedy is about using real life circumstances to create laughter and bring light to an otherwise dark world.”

The bogus statement continued with direct apologies to Jada Pinkett Smith, Will Smith and the rest of the Smith family, and a call for forgiveness over time.

Leslie Sloane, a publicist for Rock, confirmed in an email that the apology was “fake.” She did not respond to a question about whether Rock planned to apologize.

Smith slapped Rock and yelled expletives at the comedian after Rock made a joke about Pinkett Smith’s shaved head, saying he couldn’t wait to see “G.I. Jane 2.” Pinkett Smith has spoken publicly about her diagnosis with alopecia, a disease that causes hair loss.

Smith went on to win best actor for his role as Richard Williams, father of Venus and Serena, in “King Richard.” During his five-minute acceptance speech, Smith spoke about defending his family. He also apologized to the academy.

On Monday, Smith gave a stronger apology on his Instagram and through his publicist that included an apology to Rock.

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This is part of AP’s effort to address widely shared misinformation, including work with outside companies and organizations to add factual context to misleading content that is circulating online. Learn more about fact-checking at AP.