Four months after 'The Slap,' Will Smith answers fan questions in apology video
"I'm trying to be remorseful without being ashamed of myself. I'm human."
As nearly everyone with internet access knows, Will Smith made headlines for slapping comedian Chris Rock during a live taping of the 94th annual Oscars ceremony. The slap came after Rock made a joke about Smith's wife Jada Pinkett Smith’s hair loss reportedly caused by alopecia.
Four months following the incident, Smith has released a video showing a formal, official apology to Rock.
“It’s been a minute…Over the last few months, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and personal work…” the onscreen text read before Smith became visible.
During the video, Smith addressed why he didn’t apologize to Rock during his acceptance speech while claiming the “Best Actor” award for his role in “King Richard.” The actor admitted to being “fogged out” during the moment, but has since reached out to Rock to open up a dialogue about what happened.
“I’ve reached out to Chris and the message that came back is he’s not ready to talk, and when he is, he will reach out,” Smith said in the video.
He then apologized to Rock’s mother, after seeing an interview she did. “I didn’t realize how many people got hurt in that moment.”
Getting emotional, Smith shared, “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.”
Smith also spoke to the theory that Pinkett Smith’s alleged eye roll caught on camera prompted him to get aggressive. Smith took full ownership for his actions, saying, “I made a choice on my own, from my own experiences.” Where Smith confessed that his prior choice “hurts, psychologically and emotionally,” he is doing everything he can to “be remorseful without being ashamed of myself. I'm human.”
The five-minute video concluded with Smith vowing to transform a mistake into a growth opportunity.
To his disappointed fans, he promised that he would be “deeply devoted and committed to putting light and love and joy into the world. And, you know, if you hang on, I promise we’ll be able to be friends again.”