Four months since Will Smith infamously slapped Chris Rock onstage at the 2022 Academy Awards, Smith is addressing Rock on camera.
Smith adds: “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.”
Explaining why he didn’t apologize to Rock on the night of the incident, after he took the stage to deliver his Oscar’s acceptance speech for Best Actor, Will said “I was fogged out by that point. It’s all fuzzy.”
The King Richard actor also expressed guilt over how his actions impacted Rock’s family.
“I saw an interview that his mother did,” he said. “That’s one of the things about that moment I didn’t realize, I wasn’t thinking, but how many people got hurt in that moment.”
He continued: “So I want to apologize to Chris’s mother; I want to apologize to Chris’s family, specifically Tony Rock [Chris’s younger brother]. We had a great relationship. Tony Rock was my man. This is probably irreparable.”
The Oscars night incident occurred back in March, after Rock made a joke about Pinkett Smith’s short haircut.
“Jada, I love ya. G.I. Jane 2, can’t wait to see ya,” he said. The joke was referencing Demi Moore’s shaved head in the movie G.I Jane.
Seconds later, Will walked onstage, hitting Rock in front of the live audience. After returning to his table, Smith yelled, “keep my wife’s name out of your f—ing mouth.”
The actress talked about how it was “terrifying” to deal with at first.
“I was in the shower one day and had just handfuls of hair in my hands and I was just like, ‘Oh my God, am I going bald?’” she said during a 2018 Red Table Talk. “It was one of those times in my life where I was literally shaking in fear. That’s why I cut my hair, and why I continue to cut it.”
In Smith’s initial statement, which he released on Instagram in the days following the incident, he admitted he was wrong for smacking Rock onstage.
“Violence in all of its forms is poisonous and destructive. My behavior at last night’s Academy Awards was unacceptable and inexcusable. Jokes at my expense are a part of the job, but a joke about Jada’s medical condition was too much for me to bear and I reacted emotionally,” Smith began in his online statement.
Smith continued, apologizing to Rock directly for the first time, “I would like to publicly apologize to you, Chris. I was out of line and I was wrong. I am embarrassed and my actions were not indicative of the man I want to be. There is no place for violence in a world of love and kindness.”