Will Smith is speaking out publicly on camera for the first time since he slapped comedian Chris Rock at the Oscars.
WASHINGTON — Actor Will Smith has shared a new apology to Chris Rock, Rock’s family, his fellow Oscar nominees and his fans for slapping the comedian on stage at the Academy Awards.
“I was fogged out by that point,” the “King Richard” actor described. “It’s all fuzzy. 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.”
“So I will say to you, Chris, I apologize to you. My behavior was unacceptable and I’m here whenever you’re ready to talk. I want to apologize to Chris’ mother. I saw an interview that Chris’ mother did and that was one of the things about that moment I didn’t realize. I wasn’t thinking about how many people got hurt in that moment,” Smith said.
Smith shocked the Dolby Theatre crowd and viewers at home when he took the stage during Rock’s remarks at the 94th Academy Awards after the comedian made a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith’s shaved head.
Minutes after the incident, Smith won the Oscar for Best Actor for his portrayal of Richard Williams, father of tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams,” in “King Richard.”
Last weekend, Rock addressed the slap during a comedy show in New Jersey. According to US Weekly, he told the crowd that he is not a victim but it physically hurt when he got slapped. He’s currently on a world tour and is performing in Atlanta this weekend.
While Smith issued a statement apology on the day after the Oscars, Friday’s video was the first time the actor addressed what had happened on camera.
In the video, Smith also explained that Jada Pinkett Smith didn’t tell him to do something in the moment.
“It’s like, you know, I made a choice on my own, from my own experiences, from my history with Chris. Jada had nothing to do with it. I’m sorry, babe. I wanna say sorry to my kids and my family for the heat that I brought on all of us,” Smith said.
He added that it breaks his heart to “have stolen and tarnished” the evening for his fellow nominees, specifically mentioning QuestLove – who won the Oscar for the category Rock was there to announce.
“I spent the last three months replaying and understanding the nuances and the complexities of what happened in that moment. And I’m not going to try to unpack all of that right now, but I can say to all of you there is no part of me that thinks that was the right way to behave in that moment. There’s no part of me that thinks that is the optimal way to handle a feeling of disrespect or insult.”
Smith added that it hurts him especially to know that he didn’t live up to peoples’ image and impression of him.