Will Smith may have won Best Actor at last night’s Academy Awards, but the slap is all anyone can talk about. While presenting the award for Best Documentary Feature, Chris Rock made a joke about Jada Pinkett-Smith’s shaved head (due to alopecia) which prompted Will Smith to charge on stage and slap Rock across the face. Visibly confused, Rock said, “Will Smith just smacked the shit out of me,” as Smith yelled for Rock to “keep my wife’s name out of your f**king mouth!”
It was quite the moment, made all the more surreal when Will Smith was announced as the Best Actor winner soon afterwards. While the actor didn’t apologize to Chris Rock at the time, he has now taken to Instagram to publically apologize to the comedian, the Academy, the Williams family, and everyone else.
Violence in all of its forms is poisonous and destructive. My behavior at last night’s Academy Awards was unacceptable and inexcusable. Jokes at my expense are a part of the job, but a joke about Jada’s medical condition was too much for me to bear and I reacted emotionally.
I would like to publicly apologize to you, Chris. I was out of line and I was wrong. I am embarrassed and my actions were not indicative of the man I want to be. There is no place for violence in a world of love and kindness.
I would also like to apologize to the Academy, the producers of the show, all the attendees and everyone watching around the world. I would like to apologize to the Williams Family and my King Richard Family. I deeply regret that my behavior has stained what has been an otherwise gorgeous journey for all of us.
I am a work in progress.
Hollywood’s reaction to the slap found some supporting the actor while others condemned his use of violence over a simple joke, no matter how distasteful it may or may not have been. The Academy has released its own statement, saying that it “condemns the actions of Mr. Smith at last night’s show. We have officially started a formal review around the incident and will explore further action and consequences in accordance with our Bylaws, Standards of Conduct and California law.” It remains to be seen what repercussions Will Smith will face because of the slap, but we likely haven’t heard the last of this.