Will Smith Says He Reached Out to Chris Rock After Oscars Slap
Still recovering. Will Smith is opening up about where he stands with Chris Rock after his now-infamous 2022 Oscars slap.
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air alum, 53, uploaded an emotional Instagram video on Friday, July 29, captioned “Thanx y’all.” At the beginning of the clip, text appears on screen reading, “It’s been a minute … Over the last few months, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and personal work … You asked a lot of fair questions that I wanted to take some time to answer.”
Smith is shown taking a deep breath as he sits down in front of the camera to field questions about what went down at the Academy Awards earlier this year. When asked why he didn’t apologize to Rock, 57, in his best actor acceptance speech moments after the slap, the Will author said the night was a blur. “I was fogged out by that point,” he explained. “It’s all fuzzy.”
The I Am Legend actor went on to reveal that he’s spoken to the comedian in the wake of their spat. “The message that came back is that he’s not ready to talk,” Smith claimed. “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. … I’m trying not to think of myself as a piece of s–t.”
Smith then issued a direct apology to Rock’s mother. “I saw an interview that Chris’ mother did and, you know, that was just one of the things about that moment, I just didn’t realize and, you know, I wasn’t thinking about how many people got hurt in that moment,” the Philadelphia native continued. “So I want to apologize to Chris’ mother, I want to apologize to Chris’ family.”
As he answered more questions, Smith sent a message to fellow nominees and audience members at the awards show in March. “This is a community. It’s like, I won because you voted for me,” he said. “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’m sorry really isn’t sufficient.”
The King Richard actor made headlines during the 2022 Oscars when he rushed the stage and slapped Rock across the face. After the Madagascar star made a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith‘s hair loss, which she experiences due to alopecia, Smith shouted at Rock to “keep my wife’s name out your f—king mouth.”
Days after the ceremony, Smith publicly apologized for his “inexcusable” behavior in a lengthy Instagram message. He was subsequently banned from all Academy Awards events for the next 10 years and resigned from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Rock, for his part, has addressed the situation in his stand-up comedy sets. “I’m not a victim, motherf–ker,” he said during a show at the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel, New Jersey, on Sunday, July 24, according to an eyewitness. “Yeah, that s–t hurt, motherf–ker. But I shook that s–t off and went to work the next day … I don’t go to the hospital for a papercut.”
Scroll down to see more of Smith’s revelations about the slap aftermath: