The incident, which occurred earlier in the year, saw the actor slap Rock after the comedian had joked about his wife, Jada Pinkett’s Alopecia. Shortly after assaulting Rock, Smith came on stage to receive an Oscar for his role in “King Richard.”
In the days after the incident, Smith was heavily criticized by the public and stayed away from the spotlight. Ahead of his return to the big screen in “Emancipation,” the actor has now revealed that he was “going through something” at the time which made his rage overcome him.
Read on to learn more.
Will Smith Says He Was ‘Gone’
In his first late-night interview since the Oscar altercation, Smith shared that he was not himself when he slapped his Hollywood colleague on live tv.
“I was gone,” Smith recalled on “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah.” He said, “that was a rage that had been bottled for a really long time.”
Reflecting further on the infamous slap, the actor told his host he was “going through something,” which played a part in enabling his violent reaction to Rock’s joke about his wife’s alopecia.
While “The Legend” star did not share any insight into his troubles at the time, he acknowledged that his reaction was quite overboard.
“That was a horrific night, as you can imagine,” he said. “There’s many nuances and complexities to it, you know, but at the end of the day, I just, I lost it, and I guess what I would say [is] you just never know what somebody’s going through.”
‘That’s Not Who I Want To Be’
In retrospect, Smith said that his altercation with Rock reminded him of several instances of domestic violence involving his parents. He then explained that he never wanted such a lifestyle for himself while struggling to control his emotions.
“It was a lot of things. It was the little boy that watched his father beat up his mother. It’s, you know, all of that just bubbled up in in that moment,” he reflected on the show. “That’s not who I want to be.”
In response to the actor’s story, Noah stated that Smith was not a violent guy, having known him to have not behaved in such a way throughout their years working in the entertainment industry.
“I also think that’s not who you are,” he said. “I think it’s not who you are. I think everybody can make a mistake.”
Will Smith Was Banned For Ten Years From The Oscars
Since the infamous slap, Smith has seen several of his film projects put on hold in addition to receiving flak from all corners of the industry.
Days after the incident, the Academy showrunners released a statement banning the actor from attending future editions for 10 years. The ruling implied that Smith was still eligible to be nominated for an award for subsequent movie features. The “King Richard” star also retained his Best Actor Oscar win for the movie, which starred him as the father of the tennis icons Serena and Venus Williams.
Smith issued a statement after the ban, saying that he accepted the punishment meted out to him. Days before the announcement, he also resigned from the Academy, implying that he won’t be able to vote in future editions of the Oscars.
Will Smith On His Upcoming Film – ‘Emancipation’
The “Gemini Man” star has stayed away from the spotlight in the months after the slap but is getting set to return to the big screen in the slave-themed film, “Emancipation,” which opens in theaters on December 2.
In a different interview, the actor acknowledged that viewers might not be open to watching his project but begged that they should not take out their anger on his team.
“I completely understand that if someone is not ready, I would absolutely respect that and allow them their space to not be ready,” Smith told Fox 5’s Kelvin McCarthy during his appearance on “Good Day DC,” per The Blast. “My deepest concern is my team – [director Antoine Fuqua] has done what I think is the greatest work of his entire career.
He added, “My deepest hope is that my actions don’t penalize my team.”