Downing Street on Will Smith: ‘Beating someone is never the answer’

Downing Street has slammed Will Smith’s actions after the actor punched comedian Chris Rock onstage at the Oscars, saying “hitting someone is never the answer”.

he King Richard star stormed the stage after Rock made a joke about his wife Jada Pinkett Smith, referring to her hair loss.

Smith later won Best Actor at the 94th Academy Awards.

As the slap resonated around the world, British politicians on both sides were among those condemning the incident.


The King Richard star stormed the stage after Chris Rock made a joke about his wife Jada Pinkett Smith about her hair loss (Image: Doug Peters/PA)

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said he had not spoken to Boris Johnson about the matter as the Prime Minister had been “talking to leaders about Ukraine”.

He added: “I think the education secretary was absolutely right this morning – obviously hitting someone is never the answer.”

Previously, Nadhim Zahawi told LBC that “violence is never the answer” but also said that Rock had been “mistaken” into making a joke that was “below the belt”.

“Violence is never the answer to solving a problem, as Will Smith himself admitted in that tearful, heartbreaking apology,” he said.


Education Minister Nadhim Zahawi told LBC that “violence is never the answer” but also said Rock had been “mistaken” for making a joke that was “below the belt” (Jeff Overs/BBC/PA).

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“I think we should also remember – and I am the education secretary – that sometimes even a joke can be below the belt.

“If a joke is about someone’s wife and her illness – she has alopecia – it’s wrong. I think Chris Rock made a mistake doing this to Mrs. Smith.”

He added: “I have to say, a first Oscar for one of my favorite actors was wonderful to watch – sadly marred by this incident.

“You could see Will Smith – and my heart broke when I saw him, that tearful apology, he apologized straight away.

“It was tough for him because it was someone making a joke about his wife and her illness. It’s not easy, but he regretted it and immediately apologized.


Will Smith, right, punches presenter Chris Rock on stage while presenting the Best Documentary award at the Oscars (Chris Pizzello/AP)

“It’s heartbreaking when you lose control of your emotions in this way, but I think it’s important that you don’t allow yourself to cross that line and he immediately apologized, which is good to see.”

“A very talented man, his first Oscar in a fantastic film, King Richard… it’s a brilliant film of longing for this family, but my heart went out to Will Smith and his family.”

Sir Keir Starmer said Smith’s actions were “wrong”.

The Labor leader acknowledged that attacks on family members stir up emotions but said the actor’s response to comedian Chris Rock’s comment fell on the “wrong side of the line”.

Speaking on LBC, the former chief prosecutor said he was shown a clip of the incident by his own wife.

Sir Keir said: “Of course there are circumstances and anyone who insults family members stirs up something pretty emotional in all of us.

“But going on the other side and hitting someone that way is wrong I’m afraid. It was wrong.

“It was at the Oscars, it’s got all the cameras there, millions of people are watching.”

Sir Keir said he was “impressed by the fact that it didn’t feel entirely spontaneous to me” as Smith appeared to “walk on stage very calmly and then punch someone”.

“Sorry, this is the wrong side for me.”

The academy said it “does not condone any form of violence” following the incident. Downing Street on Will Smith: ‘Beating someone is never the answer’

Fry Electronics Team

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