Will Smith has addressed the slap heard around the world in a new, in-depth video.
Smith posted the video on Instagram Friday, answering questions about the incident at the 2022 Oscars ceremony when he slapped Chris Rock over a joke about his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. He once again apologizes to Rock in the video and addresses why he didn't apologize during his acceptance speech for best actor.
"I was fogged out by that point," Smith says. "It’s all fuzzy. I’ve reached out to Chris and the message that came back is that he’s not ready to talk and when he is, he will reach out. 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."
Smith also apologizes to Rock's mother and younger brother, Tony Rock, saying his relationship with Tony is now "probably irreparable."
The actor adds he has spent the past three months "replaying and understanding the nuances and the complexities of what happened in that moment."
Rock joked about Pinkett Smith’s bald head during the Academy Awards ceremony in March. Pinkett Smith has alopecia, an autoimmune disorder that causes hair loss. Pinkett Smith rolled her eyes following the joke, and Smith walked up to the stage and slapped Rock before returning to his seat, yelling at Rock to "keep my wife’s name out of your f------ mouth."
“I can say to all of you: There is no part of me that thinks that was the right way to behave in that moment,” Smith says in the video. “There’s no part of me that thinks that’s the optimal way to handle a feeling of disrespect or insults.”
Rock was presenting the award for best documentary when he made the joke. Questlove won and accepted the award afterward, and Smith says he still can see the filmmaker's eyes when he thinks back to the moment.
Smith adds he was sorry for having "stolen and tarnished" all of his fellow nominees' moments that night, but notes: "It's like, 'I'm sorry' really isn't sufficient."
Jada Pinkett Smith talks Will Smith Oscars slap on ‘Red Table Talk’June 2, 202200:56
In the post, Smith dispels rumors that his wife asked him to do something after the joke, saying he "made a choice on my own." He also speaks directly to people who looked up to him before the slap or who expressed he had let them down.
The actor says "disappointing people is my central trauma," and that he hates when he lets people down. He adds it hurts "psychologically and emotionally" knowing he didn't live up to the impression or image people have of him.
"I am deeply remorseful, and I'm trying to be remorseful without being ashamed of myself," Smith says. "I'm human and I made a mistake, and I'm trying not to think of myself as a piece of s---."
"I know it was confusing. I know it was shocking," Smith continues. "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."
Smith made his first apology to Rock in an Instagram post the day after the ceremony. In Rock's latest comments about the slap, he told a crowd at a comedy show in Holmdel, New Jersey, on Sunday he wasn't a victim.
"Anyone who says words hurt has never been punched in the face," Rock said, according to Variety. "I’m not a victim. Yeah, that s--- hurt, motherf-----. But I shook that s--- off and went to work the next day. I don’t go to the hospital for a paper cut."
In April, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences banned Smith from all events, including the Oscars, for 10 years. Smith resigned from the Academy days before he was banned. His resignation and ban do not prevent him from being nominated for or winning future awards.