Among the rest, this year’s Oscars may be best remembered by the unscripted moment actor Will Smith strode onto the stage and slapped comedian Chris Rock who made a joke about Smith’s wife’s bald head. Moments later, as everyone around the world was left in shock and disbelief, Smith won his first ever Oscar for best actor. During his acceptance speech, he apologized the Academy for what he did.
Months after the incident, Will Smith has finally addressed the Oscar slap in a video he posted on Instagram on Friday, July 29.
The video started with the words “It’s been a minute…”
“Over the last few months, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and personal work…” the statement went on. “You asked a lot of fair questions that I wanted to take some time to answer.”
Next, Smith sighed and then offered his thoughts about the altercation that made headlines worldwide. He explained why he didn’t offer Rock an apology the moment he was asked on the stage of Dolby Theatre to get his award.
“I was fogged out by that point,” Smith says. “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 are ready to talk.”
He added that at that moment, he didn’t think about how many people his actions would hurt. “When talking about, that was one of those things about that moment, I didn’t realize, I wasn’t thinking about how many people got hurt in that moment.”
Smith went on to apologize to Rock’s family, including his mother, family, and his brother, Tony Rock, who starred in the 2007 sitcom “All of Us” created by the Smiths.
“We had a great relationship,” Smith said. “Tony Rock was my man and this is probably irreparable.”
It wasn’t just Chris Rock and his family that he hurt with his behavior on the night of the Oscars. Smith said he did the same to his own family, adding that he is sorry for the scrutiny he brought on them with his action. “Disappointing people is my central trauma. I hate when I let people down. So it hurts me psychologically and emotionally to know that I didn’t live up to people’s image and impression of me,” the actor said.
He concluded the video by saying he knows how “confusing” and “shocking” his actions were but he is “deeply devoted and committed to putting light and love and joy into the world. If you hang on, I promise we’ll be able to be friends again.”
The academy sanctioned Smith by banning him from attending the Oscars for the next 10 years.
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