Will Smith opens up about slapping Chris Rock in emotional apology video
After a few months of reflection, Smith has released an emotional video that is nearly 6 minutes long, calling his behavior ‘unacceptable’
It’s been four months since Will Smith slapped Chris Rock at the Academy Awards — a shocking moment that ultimately led to the actor resigning from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Science.
“I betrayed the trust of the Academy. I deprived other nominees and winners of their opportunity to celebrate and be celebrated for their extraordinary work. I am heartbroken,” Smith said at the time, per the Deseret News.
Now, after a few months of reflection, Smith has released an emotional video that is nearly six minutes long, calling his behavior “unacceptable,” Variety reported.
Why did Will Smith slap Chris Rock?
At the 2022 Academy Awards, Rock made a joke about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, commenting on her buzzcut and saying he was excited to see “G.I. Jane 2,” the Deseret News reported.
- Pinkett Smith has the autoimmune disorder alopecia, “which attacks hair follicles resulting in bald spots and hair loss,” according to People magazine.
- Smith proceeded to walk onto the stage and slap Rock across the face. He would go on to win the Oscar for best actor that night.
What did Will Smith say in his apology video?
In a YouTube video released Friday, Smith, who says he has been doing a lot of reflection these past few months, opened up more about the incident, including why he didn’t initially apologize during his acceptance speech.
“I was fogged out by that point,” he said in the video, which already has more than 1 million views on YouTube. “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 also went on to apologize to Rock’s mother and the comedian’s family, acknowledging that the situation was “probably irreparable.”
“There is no part of me that thinks that was the right way to behave in that moment,” he said. “There’s no part of me that thinks that’s the optimal way to handle a feeling of disrespect or insults.”
The actor, who said his wife did not provoke him to slap Rock, also apologized to his family and fellow Academy Award nominees — including Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, who won the award for best documentary with “Summer of Soul” just moments after the incident.
“I just didn’t realize, and, you know, I wasn’t thinking, about how many people got hurt in that moment,” Smith said. “And it really breaks my heart to have stolen and tarnished your moment. I can still see Questlove’s eyes. You know, it happened on Questlove’s award. And, you know, it’s like, ‘I’m sorry’ really isn’t sufficient.”
In closing out his video, Smith apologized to anyone who may have looked up to him or considered him to be a role model.
“Disappointing people is my central trauma,” he said. “I hate when I let people down. So it hurts, it hurts me psychologically and emotionally to know I didn’t live up to people’s image and impression of me.
“I am deeply remorseful and I’m trying to be remorseful without being ashamed of myself,” he continued. “I’m human, and I made a mistake. ... 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. And, you know, if you hang on, I promise we’ll be able to be friends again.”