Will Smith Oscars Slap Sparks Concerns for Comedians' Safety During Shows

Following Will Smith's slap on Chris Rock during the Oscars show last night, several other comedians and TV personalities have expressed concern over their safety when performing shows.

"Let me tell you something, it's a very bad practice to walk up on stage and physically assault a Comedian. Now we all have to worry about who wants to be the next Will Smith in comedy clubs and theaters," comedian Kathy Griffin wrote on Twitter.

The comments by Griffin come shortly after Smith was seen slapping Rock after the comedian made a joke about Smith's wife, Jada Pinkett Smith.

"Jada, I love you. G.I. Jane 2, can't wait to see it," Rock said, comparing the G.I. Jane star, Demi Moore, to Pinkett Smith, who suffers from alopecia. In G.I. Jane, Moore has a shaved head.

Shortly after the joke, Smith was seen walking on stage and slapping rock in the face. Smith could then be heard from the crowd telling Rock to keep Pinkett Smith's name out of his mouth.

In addition to Griffin, several other comedians and celebrities have expressed concerns for safety following the incident at the Oscars.

Joy Behar, a comedian and co-host of The View said, "I was thinking, comedians are in danger, everywhere," when asked about the incident on Monday.

Comedian Jimmy Dore also had a similar take on the incident, writing on Twitter, "What Will Smith & the Academy Awards did was make everyone who performs live a lot less safe.

"Now the next time a comedian gets heckled by a woman & the comedian responds, her husband/boyfriend will feel it his duty to assault the comedian.

"Amazing how people support this."

Similarly, comedian Brian Redban wrote, "I wonder if Will Smith just opened the door to audience members attacking comics when doing crowd work."

Comedian and late night TV show host Jimmy Kimmel also spoke about the incident during an appearance on The Ringer podcast, hosted by Bill Simmons.

"Comedians are really mad, I feel they all feel like they're next," Kimmel said on the podcast.

Janai Nelson, who serves as the president of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund also criticized Smith.

"I know we're all still processing, but the way casual violence was normalized tonight by a collective national audience will have consequences that we can't even fathom in the moment," Nelson wrote.

Following the incident on Sunday night, Smith received an Oscar for best actor for his role in the movie King Richard. In the movie, Smith plays Richard Williams, the father of Venus and Serena Williams.

During his acceptance speech, Smith appeared to apologize for the slap and said, "Richard Williams was a fierce defender of his family. In this time in my life, in this moment, I am overwhelmed by what God is calling me to do and be in this world."

Newsweek reached out to representatives for Smith and Rock for comment but did not receive a response in time for publication.

Will Smith
Actor Will Smith slapped comedian Chris Rock during the Oscars award show on Sunday, prompting comedians to express concern for their safety in upcoming shows. Above, Smith is seen slapping Rock onstage during the 94th Oscars at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, California, on March 27. Robyn Beck/Getty