Will Smith is finally addressing the infamous incident when he slapped Chris Rock at the Oscars. The King Richard actor, who walked away with an Oscar for Best Actor later that night, released a YouTube video titled “It’s Been A Minute” Friday (July 29) addressing some of the common questions people asked after the incident.
During Oscar night on March 27, Rock was preparing to present the award for best documentary feature. During his intro, the comedian made a joke about Smith’s wife Jada Pinkett Smith, saying that he couldn’t wait to see her star in “G.I. Jane 2,” referencing her shaved head. Smith responded by going on stage and slapping Rock.
As to why he didn’t apologize to Rock during his acceptance speech, Will, 53, said, “I was fogged out by that point. 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.”
Smith then apologized to Rock’s mother; he said that after seeing an interview she did post-slap, he realized he hurt other people with his actions. “I spent the last three months replaying and understanding the nuances and the complexities of what happened in that moment. 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’s the optimal way to handle a feeling of disrespect or insults.”
The day after the Academy Awards, Smith apologized to Rock and the Academy in an Instagram post writing, “Violence in all of its forms is poisonous and destructive. My behavior at last night’s Academy Awards was unacceptable and inexcusable. Jokes at my expense are a part of the job, but a joke about Jada’s medical condition was too much for me to bear and I reacted emotionally.
After Jada rolled her eyes at Rock’s joke, Will said he made the decision on his own and apologized to his family for the “heat” it brought down on them.
“Disappointing people is my central trauma. I hate when I let people down,” Smith said of his fans. “So it hurts me psychologically and emotionally to know that I didn’t live up to people’s image and impression of me and the work I’m trying to do is — I am deeply remorseful — and I’m trying to be remorseful without being ashamed of myself. Right? I’m human, and I made a mistake and I’m trying not to think of myself as a piece of s—. 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’ll be able to be friends again.”
Watch the video below: