Jimmy Kimmel Talks Oscars Slap Ahead of Hosting Gig

Jimmy Kimmel has some thoughts regarding last year’s Oscars as he preps to host the awards ceremony this year for the third time.

In an interview with People, the 55-year-old late night host shared his reaction to Will Smith infamously slapping Chris Rock across the face after he made a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith.

“It’s still shocking that that happened,” Kimmel said. “To see something like that happen outside of like The Maury Povich Show is shocking. And then for it to happen on the Oscars magnifies it by about a million times….”

He continued, “I think it’s something that everybody regrets and that we will move past. One day it will be looked at in the same way as that guy running onstage naked is looked at: a weird moment that we all talked about and we hopefully learn from.”

Though the “Jimmy Kimmel Live” star hasn’t spoken to the “King Richard” actor since the incident, he revealed he reached out to Rock and commended him on how he handled the altercation.

“I mean, to be slapped in the face and to stay that cool is something that Chris should be proud of,” he said. “Chris’s grandchildren, I hope, will still be proud of that when he’s dead and gone.”

Shortly after Will’s altercation with Chris, he took to Instagram to apologize for the incident. In a lengthy statement, Will called violence “poisonous and destructive” and called his actions “unacceptable and inexcusable.” He went on to explain that hearing a joke about Jada, who suffers from alopecia, had been too much for him to bear and he “reacted emotionally.”

“I would like to publicly apologize to you, Chris. I was out of line and I was wrong. I am embarrassed and my actions were not indicative of the man I want to be. There is no place for violence in a world of love and kindness,” Will wrote.

He went on to apologize to the Academy, producers and viewers of the show as well as his “King Richard” family. Smith, who won the award for Best Actor soon after slapping Rock during the ceremony, eventually resigned from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Kimmel will host the Oscars for the third time on Sunday, March 12 at 5:00 PM PDT on ABC.

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