Chris Rock says he declined an invitation to host Oscars next year

Actor and comedian was infamously slapped by Will Smith at this year's event

US actor Chris Rock addressed the slap, saying that it hurt, especially considering that Smith had portrayed Muhammad Ali in a 2001 biopic. AFP
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Chris Rock has declined an offer to host the 2023 Academy Awards, the comedian revealed during his show in Phoenix on Sunday, saying that accepting the invitation would be like returning to the scene of a crime.

Rock was infamously slapped by Will Smith during the Academy Awards this year, after the comedian made a joke about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. The incident took place while Rock was about to present the award for Best Documentary Feature, about an hour before Smith was awarded the Oscar for Best Actor for his role in King Richard.

According to The Arizona Republic, Rock said accepting the invitation to host next year’s Oscars would be like asking Nicole Brown Simpson “to go back to the restaurant”. The comedian was referencing the trial of OJ Simpson, whose ex-wife reportedly had her final meal in an Italian restaurant before she was brutally murdered.

Rock briefly addressed the slap during the sold-out show, saying that it hurt, especially considering that Smith had portrayed Muhammad Ali in a 2001 biopic.

“He’s bigger than me,” Rock said. “The state of Nevada would not sanction a fight between me and Will Smith.”

This isn’t the first time Rock has commented on the slap during his stand-up.

“Anyone who says words hurt has never been punched in the face,” he joked during a performance last month, before declaring that he is "not a victim”.

He said he "shook off" the incident and "went to work the next day".

Smith, meanwhile, addressed the incident in depth recently, sharing a video on his social media in July.

Will Smith apologises to Chris Rock

Will Smith speaks in an apology video for slapping Chris Rock at Academy Awards 2022 in this screen grab obtained from a social media video uploaded on July 29, 2022.  Will Smith/YouTube/via REUTERS  THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY.  MANDATORY CREDIT.  NO RESALES.  NO ARCHIVES.

“Over the last few months, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and personal work. You asked a lot of fair questions that I wanted to take some time to answer,” Smith said.

“I've reached out to Chris and the message that came back is that he’s not ready to talk. And when he is, he will reach out.”

Smith also apologised to Rock's mother, Rose, who has said that the incident felt as if Smith had slapped her.

“When Will slapped Chris, he slapped all of us, but he really slapped me,” Rose said in an interview with US television station WIS, following the incident.

In the video, Smith offers his apologies to Rose and Rock's extended family.

“I wasn’t thinking how many people got hurt in that moment. This is probably irreparable,” Smith said.

Smith also apologised to all his fellow nominees and academy members, saying: “It breaks my heart to have stolen and tarnished your moment. 'I am sorry' isn’t really sufficient.”

Scroll through the gallery below for all the winners from the Oscars 2022

Updated: August 30, 2022, 12:44 PM