A “deeply remorseful” Will Smith posted an emotional, nearly six-minute long video on Friday in which he addressed his physical and verbal attack on Chris Rock at this past March’s Oscars.
“It’s been a minute,” reads a title card that begins the video, as Smith is heard settling into a chair in front of a microphone. “Over the last few months I have been doing a lot of thinking and personal work,” the message continues, adding, “You asked a lot of fair questions that I wanted to take some time to answer,” before Will’s recorded message begins.
“Why didn’t you apologize to Chris in your acceptance speech?” Will first asks, quoting fans. He answered, “I was fogged out by that point. It’s all fuzzy.”
Will adds, “I have reached out to Chris, and the message that came back is he’s not ready to talk, and when he is, he’ll reach out. So I will say to you, Chris, I apologize to you. My behavior was unacceptable, and I’m here when you’re ready to talk.”
Will also apologizes to Chris Rock’s mother — who as previously reported gave an interview about the incident — and to Tony Rock, Chris’ writer brother.
“I spent the last three months replaying and understanding the nuances and the complexities of what happened in in that moment,” Smith continues. “And 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.”
As for fans who asked if Smith’s wife, Jada, put him up to the stunt after “she rolled her eyes” at Chris Rock’s G.I. Jane jab at her, Smith denies it.
“I made a choice on my own, from my own experiences, from my history with Chris,” Will insists. “Jada had nothing to do with it. I’m sorry, babe. And say sorry to my kids and my family for the heat that I brought on all of us.”
Smith also acknowledges his remorse for “tarnishing” the moment for fellow Oscar nominees and winners, as well as letting his fans down.
“It hurts me psychologically and emotionally that I didn’t live up to people’s image and impression of me,” he declares. “The work I’m trying to do is I am deeply remorseful, and I’m trying to be remorseful without being ashamed for myself. I’m human and I made a mistake.”
The actor — who won his first Oscar at the ceremony not long after the slap — concludes by saying, “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 a promise, we’ll be able to be friends again.”
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