Will Smith posts video apology to Chris Rock for Oscars slap: “My behavior was unacceptable”

Will Smith's apology video and Will Smith slapping Chris Rock at the OscarsWill Smith/YouTube/ABC

Will Smith has posted a five-minute video apology to Chris Rock for the now-infamous Oscars slap.

This year’s Academy Awards were momentous: CODA took home Best Picture, marking the first time a streaming platform won cinema’s biggest prize; Troy Katsur became the first deaf male actor to win Best Actor; and Jane Campion became the third woman in history to win Best Director.

All of that was overshadowed by a single moment: after Chris Rock made a “G.I. Jane” joke about Jada Pinkett Smith, Will Smith took the stage, slapped the comedian across the face, and warned him to “keep [his] wife’s name out [his] f**king mouth.”

It felt like time stopped for everyone in the audience and those watching at home. Then, shortly after, Smith won his first-ever Best Actor Oscar for King Richard. The ensuing controversy dominated the news cycle, with people awaiting any sort of update from either side.

Will Smith posts apology video to Chris Rock for slapping him at the Oscars

Smith apologized shortly after the incident, posting a statement to Instagram in which he admitted to being “out of line, wrong” and “embarrassed” of his actions.

He’s since uploaded a five-minute video to his YouTube channel, in which he answers several questions regarding the slap, such as the aftermath with Jada and what he’d say to those he let down. Firstly, he explains why he didn’t apologize in his acceptance speech.

“I was fogged out by that point. It’s all fuzzy. 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,” he said.

“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 wanna apologize to Chris’ mother. I saw an interview Chris’ mother did, and that was one of the things about that moment – I didn’t realize, I wasn’t thinking about how many people got hurt in that moment. So, I wanna apologize to Chris’ mother, I wanna apologize to Chris’ family; specifically, Tony Rock.

“We had a great relationship. Tony Rock was my man, and this is probably irreparable. I spent the last three months replaying and understanding the nuances and the complexities of what happened in that moment.

“I’m not gonna try to unpack all of that right now, but I can say to all of you: there is no part of me 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.”

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