Will Smith breaks his silence about his regrettable 2022 Academy Awards moment, which he slapped presenter Chris Rock for making statements about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett-Smith. The apology comes shortly after Rock was gifted a live goat from Dave Chappelle and Kevin Hart named after Smith.
Just before Smith was awarded Best Actor at the 2022 Oscars, he did the unthinkable. Smith released the 5 minutes, 44 seconds long video on his personal YouTube, apologizing for his actions. His statement was in the form of answering his most-asked questions regarding the incident.
Smith first directed his apology to Rock, responding to the question many fans wondered about why he didn’t address Rock and his actions during his acceptance speech. Smith shared:
“I was fogged out by that point. It is all fuzzy. I’ve reached out to Chris and the message that came back is that, he’s not ready to talk. When he is, he will reach out. I will say to you, Chris, I apologize to you. My behavior was unacceptable and I am here whenever you are ready to talk. I want to apologize to Chris’s mother. I saw an interview [she] did, and that was one of the things I just didn’t realize. I wasn’t thinking, but how many people got hurt in that moment. I want to apologize to Chris’ mother, I want to apologize to Chris’s family, specifically Tony Rock. We had a great relationship. Tony Rock was my man. This is probably irreparable. I spent the last three months replaying and understanding the nuance and complexity of what happened in that moment. 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. No part of me that thinks that is the optimal way to handle a feeling of disrespect or insult.”
He then addressed whether or not his wife prompted his swift reaction to run on stage to strike Rock in the middle of his presentation of the Best Documentary award, which was given to Questlove for Summer of Soul.
“No. I made a choice on my own,” Smith apologetically answers. “From my own experience, and my history with Chris. Jada had nothing to do with it. I’m sorry, babe, and I want to say sorry to my kids and my family for the heat that I brought on all of us.”
Smith also apologized to the nominees whose Oscars went unnoticed, because viewers were so stunned by the slap.
“To all my fellow nominees, this is a community. I won because you voted for me and it really breaks my heart to have stolen and tarnished your moment. I can still see Questlove’s eyes – it happened on Questlove’s award – and I am sorry isn’t really sufficient.”
The Oscar award-winning actor ended with how disappointing people is his central trauma and that he is deeply sorry for the hurt he may have caused anyone involved.
“Two things. One, disappointing people is my central trauma. I hate when I let people down, so it hurts me psychologically and emotionally that I didn’t live up to peoples’ image and impression of me. The work I am trying to do is, I am deeply remorseful and I’m trying to be remorseful without being ashamed of myself. I’m human and I made a mistake and I’m trying not to think of myself as a piece of shit so I would say to those people, I know it was confusing, I know it was shocking, but I promise you I am deeply devoted and committed to putting light and love and joy into the world. If you hang on, I promise we will be able to be friends again.”
Smith also apologized to Rock’s family, specifically his mother and brother, Tony Rock.
Many fans and Academy members have already expressed their disdain for Smith after the events that took place, saying that Smith earned a ten-year ban from the Academy. Prayerfully, for Will, this will change the trajectory of his now, fallen career.
The apology comes a few months ahead of his Apple film release of Emancipation in December. Smith is the film’s star, and he also serves as a producer.
Check out Will Smith’s remarks about the infamous Oscars incident below: