Chris Rock went there: Revisiting the Smiths’ ‘entanglement’ scandal

A man in a maroon suit and a woman in a white dress posing arm-in-arm
Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith attend the 2022 premiere of “Emancipation” in Los Angeles.
(Jordan Strauss / Invision / AP)

Chris Rock pulled no punches while roasting Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith on Saturday in his live Netflix special, “Selective Outrage,” which included the comedian’s most direct response yet to that infamous Oscars slap.

But Rock went beyond just addressing the moment Will Smith smacked him onstage at the 94th Academy Awards. Live from Baltimore’s Hippodrome Theatre, the veteran comic tore into the couple’s marital history and took shots at Smith’s 2015 medical drama, “Concussion” — or was it “Emancipation”? (Rock briefly confused the two movies while workshopping some fresh anti-Smith material on Saturday.)

“A lot of people say, ‘Chris, how come you didn’t do nothing back?’” Rock said during the special. “‘Cause I got parents. Because I was raised, OK? You know what my parents taught me? Don’t fight in front of white people.”

Nearly a year after Will Smith’s shocking assault at the 2022 Oscars, Rock broke his silence Saturday in the live Netflix special “Selective Outrage.”

March 4, 2023


Parental advice be damned, Rock certainly got back at Smith during last night’s stand-up set by tapping rich, tabloid-sustaining headlines and rubbing salt in old wounds. Since Rock brought it up, let’s revisit the “entanglement” scandal that inspired one of the most biting punchlines of the evening.

While making the case that he didn’t deserve to get clocked by Smith during last year’s Oscars ceremony, Rock quipped that he “didn’t have any entanglements” — a pointed reference to Pinkett Smith’s extramarital relationship with singer August Alsina.

Pinkett Smith’s fling with Alsina made headlines in 2020 when he told the radio show “The Breakfast Club” that he and the “Girls Trip” actor previously dated, with Smith’s “blessing.” Pinkett Smith later clarified on her Facebook Watch show, “Red Table Talk,” that no one gave her “permission” to see Alsina — explaining that she and her husband were “separated amicably” when the romance occurred.

Jada Pinkett Smith confirms she had a romantic relationship with singer-songwriter August Alsina — but she and Will Smith both say they’ve worked through it.

July 10, 2020

Though Pinkett Smith initially referred to her involvement with Alsina as an “entanglement” (causing Twitter to lose its collective mind), Smith pushed her to confirm it was a “relationship, absolutely” while joining his wife at the Red Table in July 2020.

Pinkett Smith, 51, and Alsina, 30, met at a 2015 music festival featuring the former’s children, Willow and Jaden, according to Billboard.

“His wife was f—ing her son’s friend,” Rock said Saturday.

“Now, I normally would not talk about this s—. But for some reason [they] put that s— on the internet. I have no idea why two talented people would do something that lowdown. ... We all been cheated on. Everybody in here’s been cheated on. None of us have ever been interviewed by the person that cheated on us on television. ‘Hey, I was sucking somebody’s d—. How did that make you feel?’”


Will Smith’s shocking slap of Chris Rock overshadowed a show that strained to make movies relevant by leaning on TV, music, sports and stand-up.

March 27, 2022

Rock added that he called Smith amid the entanglement drama to offer his “condolences” — but the “King Richard” star didn’t answer.

“She hurt him way more than he hurt me, OK?” he continued.

“Everybody in the world called him a b—. ... They called his wife a predator. And who does he hit? Me. [Someone] he knows he can beat. That is some b—ass s—.”

Despite Rock’s repeated jabs, it seemed there was no lingering resentment between the Smiths by the time their landmark “Red Table Talk” episode premiered.

“I think it could feel weird for people that we’re laughing and talking about it,” Smith said at the time. “But ... our experiences of working through it, fighting through it, talking through it and therapizing through it — I think that the ‘Why now?’ is weird.”

“Any relationship and trying to get to deeper understanding of love is going to be forged in fire,” Pinkett Smith said at the time. “There’s no way around it.”