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Chris Rock once described how he let people “walk all over him.”
Two months before Will Smith smacked the comedian during Sunday’s Academy Awards, the 57-year-old appeared on “Fly on the Wall with Dana Carvey and David Spade” and discussed being “bullied ridiculously” throughout his childhood.
“Half of the bullying was because I was just a little guy,” the “Saturday Night Live” alum recalled. “Then I got bused to school and the bullying was because I was a little guy and I was Black. I was getting double bullied.”
Rock said he was being tormented so badly that he resorted to taking matters into his own hands.
“I went home, I put a brick in a book bag – this is like a legendary story in my neighborhood – I swung that s—t and smacked the guy in the face with this brick and stomped him, Joe Pesci-style, to the point that we thought he might die,” Rock told the hosts.
Rock said that through therapy, he learned how the incident impacted his life.
“Long story short, from that day on, as my shrink puts it to me, you have been scared to be angry ever since,” he said. “The guy you saw was bending over backward to be nice because I was so scared of my anger.”
Rock said his therapist wanted him to move past the incident because “this guy brought something out in you and you’re so scared of the thing coming out of you again that you let the whole world walk all over you. Your friends walk over you, your female relationships – everybody just f—s you over.”
The star said that today, he knows how to process his emotions.
“I’m not scared of letting people know how I feel about certain things,” he explained. “Now, I can say, ‘Hey I don’t like what you said to me,’ without losing my head, without hitting someone on the head with a frickin’ brick.”
In 2020, Rock visited “The Howard Stern Show” and discussed how he was diagnosed with a nonverbal learning disorder. The star also recalled how he confronted a childhood bully on the set of “Top Five.”
“One of my bullies was working security on the movie,” said Rock at the time. “A guy who literally one day in school turned me upside down and shook the money out of my pockets… I just gave him a quick look like, you know, I hope you’re doing well. Take care. And I kept it moving. I didn’t, like, ‘Get him off the set! Get him fired!’ It’s like… he could have been my friend. He could have been in the trailer with us watching ‘The Godfather.’ You know what I mean?”
“The fact that he had to go through that whole day, watch me walk around, watch me… be me. All my glory… I didn’t have to do anything,” he continued. “… You ever watch Bugs Bunny?… You know when Elmer Fudd got really mad at Bugs Bunny? When Bugs Bunny kissed him. That’s when he would lose his mind. When somebody does you wrong, just give them a kiss.”
The drama unfolded during the televised ceremony when Rock took aim at Jada Pinkett Smith’s shaved head.
“Jada, I love you. ‘G.I. Jane 2,’ can’t wait to see it, all right?” the comic joked, referring to the 1997 film starring Demi Moore, who shaved her head to portray a fictional Navy Seal candidate.
Pinkett Smith, 50, revealed in 2018 that she was diagnosed with alopecia. She has often discussed the challenges of hair loss on Instagram and other social media platforms.
The joke missed, badly.
Her husband walked onto the stage from his front-row seat and took a swing at Rock with an open palm, generating a loud smack. The 53-year-old walked back to his seat and shouted for Rock to leave Pinkett Smith alone. Rock replied that he was just making a “G.I. Jane” joke — and Smith yelled back at him a second time.
Smith shouted at Rock to “keep my wife’s name out of your f—-ing mouth,” and the crowd hushed as it became clear this was no act.
The moment shocked the Dolby Theatre audience and viewers at home. At the commercial break, presenter Daniel Kaluuya came up to hug Smith, and Denzel Washington escorted him to the side of the stage. The two talked and hugged and Tyler Perry came over to talk as well.
Smith shared what Washington told him: “At your highest moment, be careful because that’s when the devil comes for you.”
“I’m hoping the Academy invites me back,” Smith said.
After the show, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences issued a statement saying it “does not condone violence of any form.”
The Los Angeles Police Department said in a statement that it was aware of the incident.
“The incident involved one individual slapping another,” the statement read. “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.”
Spokespeople for Smith, Pinkett Smith, and Rock didn’t immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s requests for comment.
On Monday, Smith issued an apology on Instagram, saying he was “out of line” and that his actions “are not indicative of the man I want to be.”
“Violence in all of its forms is poisonous and destructive,” wrote Smith. “My behavior at last night’s Academy Awards was unacceptable and inexcusable. Jokes at my expense are a part of the job, but a joke about Jada’s medical condition was too much for me to bear and I 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.”
The star added apologies to the Academy, producers of the telecast, attendees, viewers and the Williams family. Smith was honored Sunday for his role as Richard Williams, father of Venus and Serena Williams.
“I am a work in progress,” added Smith.
After calling a board of governors meeting Monday to discuss the incident, the Academy said that it reviewed Smith’s actions and “will explore further action and consequences in accordance with our bylaws, standards of conduct and California law.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.