ANGELS — Will Smith has apologized to Chris Rock for slapping the comedian at the Oscars earlier this year, addressing the incident in a new video posted on social media.
“It’s been a minute…” says the text at the start of the video. “Over the past few months, I’ve done a lot of self-reflection and homework…You asked a lot of fair questions that I wanted to take some time to answer.”
The first question Smith answered was why he didn’t apologize to Rock in his acceptance speech after winning the Best Actor statuette for “King Richard.”
Smith said he was “muddled at the time” and the events are “all a blur”.
Smith said he contacted Rock and the response he got was that the comedian was “not ready to talk”, adding that when Rock felt ready, “he would contact” Smith.
“So I’ll tell ya, Chris, I’m sorry,” the “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” alum said. “My behavior was unacceptable and I’m here whenever you’re ready to talk.”
At this year’s Academy Awards, held on March 27, Smith took the stage and slapped Rock, who was presenting, after the comedian made a joke about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, starring in a non-existent sequel to “GI Jane.”
The 1997 film starred Demi Moore playing the first woman to enter Navy SEAL training.
Rock likely made the joke because of Pinkett Smith’s shaved head, as Moore shaved his head for the role.
Pinkett Smith had previously been candid about her battle with alopecia, an autoimmune disease that attacks hair follicles, sharing social media posts about her hair loss and decision to shave her head.
After the infamous slap, Smith apologized, resigned his membership in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences – the organization behind the Oscars – and the Academy banned the actor of any Academy event or program, including the Oscars, for 10 years.
Smith also apologized to Rock’s mother, Rosalie, because he saw an interview she did and how hurt she was about the situation. He also apologized to Rock’s brother Tony, saying their “great relationship” was now “probably beyond repair”.
“That was one of the things about that moment that I just didn’t realize, and, you know, I didn’t think about, but how many people were hurt in that moment,” said Smith this week about the altercation.
As for how he feels looking back on the incident, Smith said he’s spent the last few months “replaying and understanding the nuances and complexities of what happened in that moment.”
“I’m not going to try to unpack all of this now,” he said. “But I can tell you all that there’s no part of me that thinks it was the right way to behave at that time. There’s no part of me that thinks it was the right way to behave. is the best way to deal with feelings of disrespect or insults.”
Another question Smith grappled with was whether Pinkett Smith told her to do something after she rolled her eyes at Rock’s joke. To this he said a firm “no”.
“I made a choice on my own, from my own experiences, from my history with Chris. Jada had nothing to do with it,” he said, apologizing to his family. for his actions and the negative attention they received because of them.
“I’m sorry, baby. I want to say sorry to my kids and my family for the warmth I brought to all of us,” he said.
Smith then addressed his fellow nominees and winners, saying “it really breaks my heart that I stole and tarnished your moment.”
He specifically addressed Questlove, who accepted the best documentary award for his film “Summer of Soul,” moments after the slap.
“I can still see Questlove’s eyes,” he said. “You know, it happened on the Questlove award and, you know, it’s like, ‘I’m sorry’ really isn’t enough.”
He then shared what he would say to those who “admired” him before the moment or those who said his behavior that night “let them down”.
“So there are two things: one, disappointing people is my main trauma,” he said. “I hate when I let people down, so it hurts.”
Smith said it affected him “psychologically and emotionally” to know he “didn’t live up to the image and impression that people had” of him.
“…I am deeply remorseful and I try to be remorseful without being ashamed of myself,” he said. “I’m human, and I made a mistake. And I try not to think of myself as a piece of s—.”
Addressing those disappointed members of his fanbase, he added, “I know it was confusing, I know it was shocking, but I promise you I’m deeply dedicated and determined to shine a light , love and joy in the world. And, you know, if you stick with it, I promise you we can be friends again.”
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