This morning, Will Smith posted a 5 minutes, 44 seconds long YouTube video breaking his silence about the ‘slap heard around the world,’ a shocking moment when the actor slapped Chris Rock onstage after the comedian made a joke about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith’s, appearance. He was not removed from the building and later in the night, Smith won the Oscar for Best Actor in a Leading Role.
Nearly exactly three months post-slap, Smith posted his formal apology in the video via his YouTube channel. Rather than do it in a dramatic Oprah interview or a famous late night show, Smith chose the informal approach in the form of calmly answering the internet’s most asked questions about ‘the slap.’
The first question asked: “Why didn’t you apologize to Chris in your acceptance speech?” Smith explained he “was fogged out by that point. It is all fuzzy. I’ve reached out to Chris and the message that came back is that, he’s not ready to talk. When he is, he will reach out. I will say to you, Chris, I apologize to you.” He also apologized to Rock’s mother and brother, Tony Rock. “Tony Rock was my man. This is probably irreparable.”
He concluded his answer explaining what he had been doing this whole time, “I spent the last three months replaying and understanding the nuance and complexity of what happened in that moment. 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. No part of me that thinks that is the optimal way to handle a feeling of disrespect or insult.”
Smith then addressed the second question, “After Jada rolled her eyes, did she tell you to do something?” This regards to Jada looking less-than-pleased with Rock’s joke while Smith laughed along with the audience. Seconds later, he was on stage, and struck the presenter.
Smith denied his wife had anything to do with his actions. “No. I made a choice on my own, from my own experience, and my history with Chris. Jada had nothing to do with it. I’m sorry, babe, and I want to say sorry to my kids and my family for the heat that I brought on all of us.”
He also apologized to winners whose Oscars went unnoticed, including Best Actress Jessica Chastain, the cast of Best Picture CODA, and Questlove, who won for Best Documentary with his film Summer of Soul.
“To all my fellow nominees, this is a community. I won because you voted for me and it really breaks my heart to have stolen and tarnished your moment. I can still see Questlove’s eyes – it happened on Questlove’s award – and I am sorry isn’t really sufficient.”
Smith finished by stating that disappointing people brings on the worst feeling and he will do whatever he can to repair the damage he caused. Promising they “will be able to be friends again.”
Smith will star in Apple’s Emancipation which will release in December. Directed by Training Day‘s Antoine Fuqua, the film could get Smith another Best Actor nomination. Which sparks the audience’s interest as Smith has been banned from the Oscars for 10 years.
Watch Smith’s video here: