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Meme claiming to show celebrity reactions to Will Smith slap was from 2017 Oscars

A viral meme claiming to show celebrity reactions after Will Smith hit Chris Rock at the Oscars is not from 2022. It’s actually a compilation of photos from 2017.

During the March 27 Academy Awards, when Will Smith marched onto the Dolby Theater stage and slapped Chris Rock, the unpredictable moment took many by surprise.

One tweet with over 78 thousand retweets claims to show celebrities who were at the Oscars reacting to Smith’s actions. 

On March 28, The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences said it condemns the actions of Will Smith during the Oscars and it will launch a formal review.

THE QUESTION

Is the viral meme claiming to show the audience reaction to Will Smith hitting Chris Rock from the 2022 Oscars?

THE SOURCES

THE ANSWER

This is false.

No, the montage of reaction photos seen in the viral meme is not from the 2022 Oscars. 

The photos seen in the meme date back to the 2017 Academy Awards. The celebrities seen in the meme were reacting to the Best Picture mixup – when La La Land was incorrectly announced as the Best Picture winner instead of Moonlight.

WHAT WE FOUND

Using Tineye, a reverse image search tool, VERIFY confirmed that the pictures in the viral meme date back to 2017, when celebrities were reacting in shock to the Best Picture mixup

Many of the individual portraits seen in the meme were lifted from a photograph taken by Los Angeles Times photographer Al Seib. In this LA Times article published Feb. 27, 2017, Seib explained how he was able to capture the reaction shot.

VERIFY compared the images in the meme to photos taken at the Oscars in 2022. Some of the actors in the viral meme from 2017, weren’t in attendance at this year's Academy Awards while others were in different outfits.

VERIFY reached out to the Twitter account that posted the meme after this year’s Oscars. In a statement to VERIFY, @Lorrakan said, “Never did I expect the tweet to take off or think the joke would be taken as fact.”

More from VERIFY: No, Netflix isn’t cracking down on password sharing in the U.S.

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