Will Smith Apologizes for Slapping Chris Rock
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Will Smith Apologizes for Slapping Chris Rock

Will Smith has apologized for slapping Chris Rock at the 2022 Oscars.

On Monday afternoon, the actor issued a statement about the televised altercation, in which he called his actions "unacceptable and inexcusable."

Explaining he "reacted emotionally" to Rock's joke about wife Jada Pinkett Smith's alopecia, Smith wrote that he "deeply regret" striking the comedian and directly apologized to Rock, saying that he was "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," Smith continued. He also went on to apologize to "the Academy, the producers of the show, all the attendees and everyone watching around the world," in addition to the Williams and King Richard families for "[staining] what has been an otherwise gorgeous journey for all of us."

The Instagram apology comes after Smith walked on-stage and slapped Rock across the face while the comedian was presenting the award for "Best Documentary." The slap was in response to Rock referring to Pinkett Smith as "G.I. Jane" because of her shaved head, which is a byproduct of the autoimmune disease, which cause hair loss. Smith then returned to his seat and appeared to yell "Keep my wife's name out your fucking mouth!"

The moment happened prior to Smith winning the coveted "Best Actor" award for his role as tennis legends Venus and Serena Williams' father in King Richard. During his acceptance speech, the Oscar winner made a similar apology to the Academy and his fellow nominees. However, he seemingly doubled down on his actions by saying, "Art imitates life. I look like the crazy father, just like they said about Richard Williams. But love will make you do crazy things.”

“I know to do what we do, you’ve got to be able to take abuse; you’ve got to be able to have people talk crazy about you," he said at the time. "In this business you’ve got to be able to have people disrespecting you. And you got to smile, and you've got to pretend like that’s OK."

On Monday, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences issued a statement "condemning" Smith's actions and said it was launching a formal investigation into what happened, adding that it would "explore further action and consequences in accordance with our Bylaws, Standards of Conduct and California law." The Los Angeles Police Department also acknowledged the altercation in a statement confirming that Rock had declined to file a police report.

According to CNN, a source revealed that members of the Academy in the audience tried to discuss what happened and "strongly considered removing Will Smith from last night's broadcast," though they "couldn't mobilize to make a decision before he won best actor."

The publication went on to report two sources confirmed that the Academy held a "heated" and "divided" virtual meeting on Monday morning, but members were unable to decide on further action. As such, it's unclear what will happen to Smith, though the outlet noted the group doesn't have any disciplinary power.

Read Smith's entire apology below.

Photo via Getty / Myung Chun / Los Angeles Times


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Story by Andrew Nguyen / Photography by Diego Villagra Motta / Styling by Angelina Cantú