Last month, Smith struck Rock on-stage following a joke about his wife Jada Pinkett Smith’s shaved head. Following numerous apologies over the incident, Smith resigned from the Academy and described his actions as “shocking, painful, and inexcusable”.
He was later banned from all Academy events for 10 years. Since the incident, Smith has also been condemned by a number of celebrities including A$AP Rocky, Janet Hubert, Jim Carrey, Amy Schumer and Zoë Kravitz, while the likes of Denzel Washington and UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak have supported him.
Speaking on Good Morning Britain, Whitehall, who has previously hosted the BRIT Awards on numerous occasions, discussed the repercussions of the Smith incident.
“I think hosts now going forward are definitely going to be checking themselves every time they write a joke for their monologues thinking that that’s happened,” he said.
“The only time anyone has ever actually got up on stage with me was quite scary… And the problem is when something like that happens, and you sort of saw it happen at the Oscars, most people think that it’s part of the show, so they don’t do anything.”
Will Smith slaps Chris Rock on stage at the Oscars 2022. CREDIT: Getty Images
Whitehall then discussed an incident he became embroiled in with an uninvited interloper on stage.
“So I had a guy who was up on stage with me in a headlock,” he said. “I felt quite vulnerable, but everyone was laughing in the room because they thought it was a bit. And then I caught out the corner of my eye the bouncers on the door, and they were laughing as well because they thought it was a set-up.
“So they wouldn’t have come up to my to my aid and that is slightly the problem with comedians, is when stuff goes wrong on stage, you always just assume that it’s part of a bit because no-one takes comedians seriously.”
He added: “My piece of advice – and this is what I’ve always said in awards shows – is just be careful who you pick on.”
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