Will Smith Opens Up About Oscars Slap – “Chris, I Apologize to You”

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

It was dubbed the “slap heard around the world”—the infamous moment that Will Smith stormed on stage at the 2022 Oscars to confront Chris Rock following an off-color joke about his wife, Jada.

Jada Pinkett Smith, who has long suffered from hair loss due to Alopecia, was made the punch line of Rock’s joke as he geared to present an award. The comedian referenced the actress before saying “G.I. Jane 2, can’t wait to see you.”

Though Smith appeared to laugh along with the joke at first, he quickly changed his tune when he jumped up on stage and delivered a room-quieting slap across the face. The controversial move resulted in the actor being banned from the Oscar for the next 10 years.

Smith has been relatively quiet about the whole incident, save for a quick apology on social media, until today (July 29) as he took to Instagram to share a video addressing a slew of comments about the incident.

“It’s been a minute…Over the last few months, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and personal work,” he wrote ahead of the video. “You asked a lot of fair questions that I wanted to take some time to answer.”

Smith somberly enters the video with a sigh, before jumping straight into the first question which read, “Why didn’t you apologize to Chris during your acceptance speech?”

“I was fogged out by that point,” the actor admitted. “It’s all fuzzy.” Smith then revealed that he has reached out to Rock to apologize, but the response he got back from the comedian was “that he wasn’t ready to talk.”

He went ahead and issued another apology saying, “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. That was one of the things about that moment – I didn’t realize how many people got hurt.”

He further apologized to the rest of Rock’s family, particularly his brother Tony Rock.

“I spent the last three months replaying and understanding the nuances and the complexities that happened in that moment…there is not a single part of me that thinks that was the right way to behave in that moment,” he continued.

Another commenter asked whether or not Jada had asked Smith to go through with the outburst, to which Smith replied vehemently, “No.”

“I made a choice on my own,” he said. “I’m sorry babe. I wanna say sorry to my kids and my family for the heat that I brought on all of us. To all my fellow nominees…it really breaks my heart to have stolen and tarnished your moment.”

The slap occurred during the reading of the nominees for “Best Documentary Feature.” The award ultimately went to Summer of Soul director Questlove. The famed drummer had to take the stage directly after the awkward moment.

“I can still see Questlove’s eyes. I’m sorry really isn’t sufficient,” Smith conceded.

Smith went on to cover a number of topics about the night. You can see the full video below. The comments on the video are overwhelmingly positive with many of the actor’s famous friends and fans alike praising the effort.

Many commenters also marked the olive branch as a sign of the actor’s return, after many thought he would fall by the wayside. Rock has mentioned the incident at a number of his stand-up shows but has yet to directly comment on Smith’s apologies.

(Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images)

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