Superbad director Judd Apatow has been receiving backlash over now-deleted tweets commenting on Will Smith hitting comedian Chris Rock at the Oscars ceremony on Sunday.
Smith was angered by Rock poking fun at his wife Jada Pinkett Smith’s appearance by referencing the fact that her head is shaved. Smith suffers from alopecia, which causes hair loss.
Apatow, who has directed comedies including The 40-Year-Old Virgin and Knocked Up, weighed in on the incident with several tweets, which were quickly deleted. However, some users captured screen-shots of them and criticized Apatow.
The now-deleted tweets said: “He [Smith] could have killed him. That’s pure out of control rage and violence.
“They’ve heard a million jokes about them in the last three decades. They are not freshman in the world of Hollywood and comedy. He lost his mind,” Apatow added.
“I have more hair on my back than on my head and I can take a joke about it.
“Seems like Will Smith’s plan to get comedians and the world to not make jokes about him is not going to pan out. The Williams family must be furious. Pure narcissism. Also- GI Jane was gorgeous. What exactly is insulting about being compared to a ripped, stunning, Demi?”
Apatow received flak for his comments, despite later trying to hide them.
One Twitter user, Jason (One Piece Stan), wrote: “Judd Apatow got on twitter and attempted to portray will smith as a murderer. The level of anti-Blackness from white folks in hollywood will never surprise me LMAO”
Another said: “judd apatow talking about violence and rage after a tiny slap but not about continuing to work with james franco after multiple instances of him being violent against women.”
Rock joked about Pinkett Smith’s appearance as he was presenting the award for Best Documentary at the film awards.
“Jada, I love you. G.I. Jane II, can’t wait to see it,” Rock said, referring to the film G.I. Jane, starring Demi Moore. In the film Moore plays a character with a shaved head.
Smith then walked onstage and struck the comedian, taking him aback.
“Will Smith just smacked the s*** out of me,” Rock remarked.
The Ali and iRobot star then shouted “keep my wife’s name out your f***ing mouth” twice at him.
Smith later won the Best Actor award for his performance in King Richard, a film about tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams‘ childhood. Smith, who played the tennis players’ father, gave a tearful speech and apologized to the other Oscars delegates, but not to Rock.
Newsweek has contacted Apatow’s representatives for comment.