By Biodun Busari
American comedian and actor, Chris Rock has said that he has declined the offer to be the Master of Ceremony for the 2023 Oscars of the award after the organisers approached him.
The 57-year-old filmmaker told a Phoenix comedy on Sunday that after what happened at this year’s Oscars where fellow American actor Will Smith slapped him, accepting the offer would be like returning to the scene of a crime.
Recall that Smith walked onstage and slapped Rock on the face at the 94th Academy Awards on March 27, 2022.
The attack was an upset response to rock making a joke about Smith’s wife Jada Pinkett’s shaved head.
According to New York Post, the artiste told the crowd that going back to the Oscars would be like asking Nicole Brown Simpson “to go back to the restaurant” where she left her eyeglasses before she killed, in a reference to the murder trial of O.J. Simpson, who was acquitted in the case.
Rock also claimed he was offered — and turned down — a post-slap Super Bowl commercial.
In May, ABC’s President of Entertainment Craig Erich told Deadline that he was open to having Rock return as host next year, adding that the choice would surely improve ratings.
“Obviously there was a lot of controversy [surrounding this year’s broadcast], which overshadowed a lot of the positive things about the show, but I was really happy with the program,” Erich stated. “It was the biggest bounce-back of any award show this season.”
After the incident, Smith publicly apologised to the comedian but said Rock is still “not ready” to talk one-on-one about it.
“So I will say to you, Chris, I apologize to you,” he said with remorse. “My behaviour was unacceptable, and I’m here whenever you’re ready to talk.”
Rock has kept mum about the incident, with the exception of a few comedy shows in recent months.
“Yeah, that s**t hurt, mother**ker — but I shook that s–t off and went to work the next day,” Rock declared while performing alongside Kevin Hart and Dave Chappelle at Madison Square Garden, New York, in July. “Anyone who says ‘words hurt’ has never been punched in the face.”
“I’m not a victim, mother**ker. I don’t go to the hospital for a paper cut,” he said the following day in Holmdel, New Jersey.
The 2023 Oscars will take place on March 12.