The “King Richard” actor took the stage a short while later to receive his first-ever Best Actor Oscar while Chris was backstage talking to the LAPD and declining to press charges.
Although both have been reticent to discuss the slap, Will Smith took to Instagram to share a video that was over five minutes long to answer questions about the viral incident.
Will Smith Answers Questions About Why He Slapped Chris Rock at the Oscars
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“It’s been a minute… Over the last few months, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and personal work…” a message on the screen began. “You asked a lot of fair questions that I wanted to take some time to answer.”
“Why didn’t you apologize to Chris in your acceptance speech?” was the first question. Smith said he was “fogged out by that point” and said that his recollection is “fuzzy.” He said that he has reached out to Chris, but he is not ready to talk at this time. Smith said that Chris will reach out to him when he’s ready to talk, but Smith directed Chris directly in the video, saying, “I apologize to you. My behavior was unacceptable and I’m here whenever you’re ready to talk.”
He also extended an apology to Chris’ mother, saying that he saw an interview that she did. Smith said that he didn’t realize, and wasn’t thinking, about how many people got hurt “in that moment.” He also apologized to Chris’ family, specifically his brother, Tony Rock. “We had a great relationship,” Smith said, noting that “this is probably irreparable” after the slap.
“I spent the last three months replaying and understanding the nuances and, and the complexities of what happened in that moment,” he continued. “I’m not going to try to 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 Says That Jada Did Not Tell Him To Do Anything
“After Jada rolled her eyes, did she tell you to do something?” was the next question.
“No,” Smith replied. He said he made a choice on his own, from his own experiences and his history with Chris. He said “Jada had nothing to do with it” and apologized to her, his kids, and his family for “the heat I’ve brought on all of us.”
He also apologized to the other nominees. “It really breaks my heart to have tarnished your moment,” he said. “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.”
Will Smith Apologizes To The Fans He Disappointed: ‘I’m Trying Not To Think Of Myself As Piece of S—‘
“What would you say to the people who looked up to you before the slap or the people who expressed that you let them down?” was the third question.
Smith said that “disappointing people is my central trauma. I hate when I let people down so it hurts, it hurts me psychologically to know 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— so I would say to those people, 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,” he concluded.
In the caption, Smith wrote, “Thanx y’all.”