Will Smith is speaking out about slapping Chris Rock at the Oscars earlier this year.
The Independence Day actor took to Instagram on Friday morning with a new video explaining his side of the sordid story. Of course, Will delivered one of the most infamous (and unfortunate) moments in Academy Awards history back in late March after slapping the comedian on stage in front of a worldwide audience. The slap followed a joke about his wife Jada Pinkett Smith suffering from baldness caused by alopecia.
Related: Chris Rock Jokes About The Infamous Will Smith Slap Yet AGAIN!
In the clip, the 53-year-old sits down in a chair in front of the camera and talks directly to the lens. He acknowledges that “it’s been a minute” in a caption before diving into his side of the incident itself. The initial caption introducing the video reads:
“It’s been a minute… Over the last few months I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and personal work… You asked a lot of fair questions that I wanted to take some time to answer.”
He then appears on screen, and states the first question he intends to answer:
“Why didn’t you apologize to Chris in your acceptance speech?”
He explains it was “all fuzzy” after the late March incident, and apologizes directly to Chris:
“I was fogged out by that point. 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.”
He also asks for forgiveness from Chris’ mother, as well as comedian Tony Rock, who is Chris’ younger brother:
“I want to apologize to Chris’ mother. I saw an interview that Chris’ mother did and, you know, that was one of the things about that moment I just didn’t realize. And, you know, I wasn’t thinking about how many people got hurt in that moment. So I want to apologize to Chris’ mother. I want to apologize to Chris’ family. Specifically, Tony Rock. You know, we had a great relationship. Tony Rock was my man. And this is probably irreparable.”
Will goes on from there, adding this commentary about the slap:
“I spent the last three months replaying and understanding the nuances and the complexities of what happened in that moment. I’m not going to try to unpack all of that right now. But 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. There’s no part of me that thinks that’s the optimal way to handle a feeling of disrespect or insults.”
Next, he addresses Jada’s reaction to Chris’ joke which led up to the infamous on-stage action. He states the question we are all wondering:
“After Jada rolled her eyes did she tell you to do something?”
And responds emphatically (if not a little lightheartedly) that no, she did not push him into taking any action:
“No. You know, I made a choice on my own, from my own experiences, from my history with Chris. Jada had nothing to do with it. I’m sorry, babe. I want to say sorry to my kids and my family for the heat that I brought on all of us.”
Will also offers his regrets for ruining what should have been a special moment for Questlove, and a special night for the rest of the nominees:
“To all my fellow nominees, you know, this is a community. I won because you voted for me, and it really breaks my heart to have stolen and tarnished your moment. I can still see Questlove’s eyes. It happened on Questlove’s award. ‘I’m sorry’ really isn’t sufficient.”
Finally, the Men in Black star addresses one more question on camera:
“What would you say to the people who looked up to you before the slap, or people who expressed that you let them down?”
“So there’s two things. One, disappointing people is my central trauma. I hate when I let people down. It hurts me psychologically and emotionally to know I didn’t live up to people’s image and impression of me. The work I’m trying to do is, I am deeply remorseful, and I’m trying to be remorseful without being ashamed of myself.”
Then, the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air alum concludes the clip like this:
“I’m human, and I made a mistake and I’m trying not to think of myself as a piece of s**t. So I would say to those people, I know it was confusing. I know it was shocking. 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.”
You can watch the video for yourself (below):
So there you have it. Reactions, Perezcious readers?
[Image via ABC/YouTube]