Will Smith apologizes to Chris Rock for ‘unacceptable, inexcusable’ Oscars slap: ‘I am a work in progress’

Almost a full day after slapping Chris Rock at the 2022 Oscars, Will Smith has issued a formal apology. “I am a work in progress,” the Best Actor Oscar winner for “King Richard” wrote on Instagram. Smith called his own controversial actions “unacceptable and inexcusable,” noting that “violence in all of its forms is poisonous and destructive.” See Smith’s entire statement on the Oscars slap below.

Smith’s alleged physical assault was shown live on TV across the world when Rock came out to present the award for Best Documentary Feature. As is usual at awards shows, presenters often poke fun at the people in the audience. But when Rock joked about Jada Pinkett Smith‘s shaved head due to alopecia by saying she should star in “G.I. Jane 2,” Smith got out of his chair, walked onto the stage and struck Rock across the face.

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“Leave my wife’s name out your f***ing mouth!” Smith screamed when he returned to his seat in the front row. A dumbfounded Rock responded, “I’m going to, okay? That was the greatest night in the history of television.”

Later on during his Best Actor acceptance speech, Smith made an off-the-cuff apology to the academy at large and not to Rock specifically. “I look like the crazy father, just what they said about Richard Williams,” Smith said at the time. “But love will make you do crazy things … I hope the academy invites me back.”

In the hours following Smith’s slap, it was reported that Rock had decided not to press charges with the LAPD. Diddy then claimed that the two actors had made up off-camera, saying, “It’s all love … they’re brothers.” On Monday morning, an academy spokesman offered the following statement: “The Academy 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.”

Will Smith apologizes to Chris Rock in the following statement:

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. Sincerely, Will


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