Will Smith is going on the record about the infamous Chris Rock Oscars slap.
Four months after the headline-making incident, the actor returned to social media to answer “a lot of fair questions” and issue another apology to Rock for slapping him on stage at the 2022 Academy Awards after he made a joke about his wife Jada Pinkett Smith.
In an emotional YouTube video, Smith revealed why he didn’t apologize to Rock while accepting the Oscar for Best Actor for King Richard, saying he was “fogged out at that point.”
“It’s all fuzzy,” Smith said. “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 also addressed Rock directly. “Chris, I apologize to you. My behavior was unacceptable and I’m here whenever you’re ready to talk.”
Additionally, he apologized to Chris’ family including his mother and his brother, Tony Rock. “I didn’t realize how many people got hurt,” he said. “Tony Rock was my man and this is probably irreparable.”
Smith said he’s been doing a lot of reflecting over the past few months and acknowledges that there is “no part of me that thinks that was the right way to behave in that moment.”
Pinkett was seen on camera rolling her eyes after Rock made his joke comparing her hair to Demi Moore’s character from G.I. Jane. But Smith says his wife did nothing to provoke the attack.
“I made a choice on my own, from my own experiences, from my history with Chris,” he said. “Jada had nothing to do with it. I’m sorry, babe. 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 his fellow Oscar nominees including Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, who won the award for Best Documentary just moments after the slap.
“To all my fellow nominees, you know, this is a community, It’s like I won because you voted for me,” Smith said. “And it really breaks my heart to have stolen and tarnished your moment. I can still see Questlove’s eyes. You know, it happened on Questlove’s award. And, you know, it’s like, I’m sorry really isn’t sufficient.”
Smith admitted that he was disappointed in himself for letting others down. “Disappointing people is my central trauma. I hate when I let people down,” he said. “So it hurts me psychologically and emotionally to know that I didn’t live up to people’s image and impression of me.”
He continued, “I am deeply remorseful and I’m trying to be remorseful without being ashamed of myself. I’m human and I made a mistake and I’m trying not to think of myself as a piece of shit.”
Smith ended the video by promising to learn from his mistakes. “I know it was confusing, I know it was shocking,” he said. “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, I promise we’ll be able to be friends again.”
In the wake of the controversy, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences banned Smith from returning to the Oscars or attending any other Academy events for the next 10 years. Some of his film projects have also been put on hold, including Bad Boys 4.