Will Smith has appeared on his YouTube channel to apologize for slapping Chris Rock at the Oscars, and to respond to a number of questions around the incident..
Smith appeared on his YouTube channel in a video entitled “It’s been a minute…”, and framed his apology as answers to a number of questions around the incident. Smith says that he’s reached out to Rock, but that Rock hasn’t yet felt ready to talk to him.
“Chris, I apologize to you,” Smith said. “My behavior was unacceptable, and I’m here whenever you’re ready to talk. I want to apologize to Chris’ mother. I saw an interview that Chris’ mother did and, you know, that was one of the things about that moment – I just didn’t realise, I wasn’t thinking, but how many people got hurt in that moment. So I want to apologize to Chris’ mother. I want to apologize to Chris’ family, specifically Tony Rock. You know, we had a great relationship, Tony Rock was my man, and this is probably irreperable.
“I spent the last three months replaying and understanding the nuances and the complexities of what happened in that moment, and I’m not going to try and 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. There’s no part of me that thinks that’s the optimal way to handle a feeling of disrespect, or insults.
Smith also says that his wife, Jada Pinkett-Smith – who was the butt of a joke from Rock that led to Smith’s assault – didn’t tell him to do anything in the moment. Smith also apologized to his wife and children for “the heat that I brought on all of us,” and to fellow Oscar nominees for “tarnishing your moment.”
“I still see Questlove’s eyes – it happened on Questlove’s award – and, you know, ‘I’m sorry’ really isn’t sufficient,” he added.
Smith also explained why he hadn’t apologized when he later went on to win the Best Actor award for King Richard, saying, “I was fogged out by that point. It’s all fuzzy.”
Smith addressed those who looked up to him before the slap, saying “disappointing people is my central trauma.” “It hurts me psychologically and emotionally to know I didn’t live up to people’s image and impression of me,” he continued, “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. I’m human, and I made a mistake, and I’m trying not to think of myself as a piece of shit.”
The video ends with Smith saying, “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 that we’ll be able to be friends again.”
Smith has previously apologized for his actions, but this is the first time he’s appeared on camera to address the incident. The slap led to the actor’s 10-year ban from the Oscars, and led many to question what his next career steps would be. Smith’s Bad Boys co-star, Martin Lawrence recently said that the incident would not kill work on Bad Boys 4 however.
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