Serena Williams' telling reaction after Will Smith slap at Oscars

Serena Williams, pictured here after Will Smith slapped Chris Rock at the Oscars.
Serena Williams was among the many left shocked by Will Smith's slap. Image: Instagram/Getty

Serena Williams was among the many onlookers left in shock after Will Smith slapped Chris Rock on stage at the Oscars on Sunday night.

Smith open-hand slapped Rock on the face and shouted vulgarities at the comedian for making a joke about his wife Jada Pinkett Smith's hairstyle.

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Those in attendance were left in complete shock as they realised the ugly moment wasn't a stunt.

Williams, who attended the ceremony with sister Venus to support Smith for his portrayal of their father Richard, took to social media to express her disbelief.

The 23-time grand slam champion posted her reaction to her Instagram stories, with a number of clips showing her with mouth agape.

In one clip she said: “I just sat down, because I was like, I gotta put that drink down.”

Minutes later, Smith was awarded his first Oscar for best actor for his role in 'King Richard'.

The movie chronicles how Richard Williams helped his daughters become some of the greatest tennis players in history through his unique coaching methods.

Smith apologised to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and his fellow nominees in a tear-filled acceptance speech.

“Richard Williams was a fierce defender of his family," Smith said.

“In this time in my life, I am overwhelmed by what God is calling on me to do and be in this world.

“In this film I got to protect Aunjanue Ellis who was one the most strongest, the most delicate people I’ve ever met. I got to protect Saniyya and Demi, the two actresses that played Venus and Serena.

Will Smith, pictured here slapping Chris Rock onstage during the 94th Oscars.
Will Smith slaps Chris Rock onstage during the 94th Oscars. (Photo by ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images)

“I want to be a vessel for love. I want to say thank you to Venus and Serena and the entire Williams family for entrusting me with your story. That’s what I want to do. I want to be an ambassador of that kind of love and care and concern.

“I want to apologise to the Academy, I want to apologise to all my fellow nominees.

“This is a beautiful moment and I’m not crying for winning an award. It’s not about winning an award for me.

"It’s about being able to shine a light on all the people … and the entire cast and crew of King Richard, and Venus and Serena and the entire Williams family.

“Art imitates life, I look like the crazy father just like they said about Richard Williams. But love will make you do crazy things.”

Cameras panned to the Williams sisters a number of times during Smith's speech, as well as after his ugly incident with Rock.

They were both spotted at the Vanity Fair after-party following the ceremony.

Venus and Serena Williams, pictured here at the 94th Annual Academy Awards.
Venus and Serena Williams at the 94th Annual Academy Awards. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)

Academy to investigate Will Smith's slap

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has since condemned Smith's slap and launched a formal review of the incident that cast a shadow over Hollywood's glitziest night.

In a statement on Monday, the 9900-member film academy said it "condemns the actions of Mr Smith at last night's show".

"We have officially started a formal review around the incident and will explore further action and consequences in accordance with our Bylaws, Standards of Conduct and California law," the statement said.

The group's standards of conduct policy states it is "categorically opposed to any form of abuse, harassment or discrimination" and expects members to uphold the values "of respect for human dignity, inclusion, and a supportive environment that fosters creativity".

Violations may result in suspension or expulsion from the group, revocation of Oscars, or loss of eligibility for future awards, according to the policy.

It is rare but not unprecedented for the film academy to revoke membership.

with AAP

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