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Oscars host Billy Crystal calls Will Smith's attack on Chris Rock 'a crime'

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Emmy Griffiths
Emmy GriffithsTV & Film Editor
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Nine-time Oscars host Billy Crystal has weighed in on Will Smith hitting Chris Rock at the Academy Awards, calling the incident "a crime".

MORE: Oscars host Amy Schumer reveals why Chris Rock didn’t leave stage after Will Smith slap

Speaking on Who's Talking to Chris Wallace, he explained: "Uh-oh. Uh-oh… it was a horrible thing and it's a crime –– the fortunate thing is it wasn't a closed fist. 'Cause then you might have had a Kermit Washington situation… It was an assault. I've had experiences. I hosted the Grammys three times and I've been thrown things."

WATCH: Will Smith assaults Chris Rock at 2022 Oscars

He continued: "I thought Chris handled himself as well as he could and to keep it together. It was a shocking moment that I was concerned very much for the mental state of Will. I was very worried and concerned and shocked by the aftermath of that too."

He also called Chris' joke at Jada Pinkett Smith "wrong". He said: "I love Chris and we're friends and I so respect him. I just thought it was wrong."

chris rock will smith hit

Will hit Chris at the Oscars

Following the incident, Will has been banned from the Oscars for ten years. In a statement, the Academy said the Oscars had been "overshadowed by the unacceptable and harmful behaviour we saw Mr Smith exhibit on stage".

The statement read: "During our telecast, we did not adequately address the situation in the room. For this, we are sorry. This was an opportunity for us to set an example for our guests, viewers and our Academy family around the world, and we fell short — unprepared for the unprecedented."

MORE: Amy Schumer makes career decision in wake of 'traumatizing' Will Smith Oscars upset

MORE: Ricky Gervais reveals how he would have handled Will Smith altercation

They continued: "We want to express our deep gratitude to Mr. Rock for maintaining his composure under extraordinary circumstances.

chris rock hit

Billy also criticised Chris' joke 

"We also want to thank our hosts, nominees, presenters and winners for their poise and grace during our telecast… This action we are taking today in response to Will Smith’s behaviour is a step toward a larger goal of protecting the safety of our performers and guests, and restoring trust in the Academy."

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