Will Smith is speaking publicly on camera for the first time since his shocking Oscar moment when he slapped comedian Chris Rock.
WASHINGTON – Actor Will Smith has issued a new apology to Chris Rock, the Rock family, fellow Oscar nominees and his fans for slapping the comedian on stage at the Academy Awards.
The video begins with Smith explaining why he didn’t apologize to The Rock in his acceptance speech later that night.
“It overwhelmed me at that point,” the “King Richard” actor explained. “Everything is a blur. I called Chris and the message he got back was that he’s not ready to talk and when he is, he’ll reach out.”
“So I’m telling 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’s mom. I saw the interview that Chris’s mom did. . And that was one of the things I didn’t realize at the time. I wasn’t thinking about how many people were hurt at that moment.” Smith said.
Smith shocked the Dolby Theater crowd when she took the stage during Rock’s speech at the 94th Academy Awards after the comedian joked about Jada Pinkett Smith’s shaved head.
Minutes after the incident, Smith won the Oscar for Best Actor for his role as Richard Williams, the father of tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams, in King Richard.
While Smith issued a statement apologizing the day after the Oscars, Friday’s video was the first time the actress addressed what happened on camera.
In the video, Smith also explained that Jada Pinkett-Smith didn’t tell her to do anything in the moment.
“Like, you know, I made a choice, based on my own experiences, from the history with Chris. Jada had nothing to do with it. I’m sorry, honey. The family because of the heat I brought on all of us,” Smith said.
He added that he was heartbroken that he had “stolen and tainted” the night for his other nominees, specifically mentioning QuestLove – who had the Oscar for rock category to announce.
I’ve spent the last three months replaying and understanding the nuances and complexities of what happened in that moment. And I’m not going to try to open them all right now, but I can tell you all that there are no parts. From me who thinks this was the right way to behave at that moment.
Smith added that it especially bothers him to know that he didn’t live up to people’s image and perception of him.
In April, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced it had banned Will Smith from attending the Oscars or any other Academy events for 10 years, though it’s unclear whether the ban will apply to future nominees.