Will Smith Released An Apology Video For Slapping Chris Rock At The Oscars
4 months after The Slap™ heard round the world, Will Smith has posted a video apologizing to Chris Rock for his actions at the 2022 Oscars. Will’s YouTube vid, titled “It’s been a minute….”, clocks in at 5 minutes and 44 seconds, and features Will answering so-called fan questions. These questions include, “Why didn’t you apologize to Chris during your acceptance speech?”, “After Jada rolled her eyes, did she tell you to do something?”, and “Why did you choose to sit directly in front of a white ball light while wearing a white ball cap? It makes you look like an egg head. I feel like the production designer for this apology video should’ve caught that. Are you planning to slap the production designer for this apology video?”
Deadline says that Will’s apology was expected, and, while some expected him to do a late-night talk show interview, or Oprah sit-down, he chose to do it on his own YouTube channel. Here’s exactly what Will said re: why he didn’t apologize to Chris Rock in his Best Actor acceptance speech, via Deadline:
“I was fogged out by that point. It is all fuzzy. I’ve reached out to Chris and the message that came back is that, he’s not ready to talk. When he is, he will reach out. I will say to you, Chris, I apologize to you. My behavior was unacceptable and I am here whenever you are ready to talk.
I want to apologize to Chris’s mother. I saw an interview [she] did, and that was one of the things I just didn’t realize. I wasn’t thinking, but how many people got hurt in that moment. I want to apologize to Chris’ mother, I want to apologize to Chris’s family, specifically Tony Rock [Chris’ younger brother]. We had a great relationship. Tony Rock was my man. This is probably irreparable.
I spent the last three months replaying and understanding the nuance and complexity 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. No part of me that thinks that is the optimal way to handle a feeling of disrespect or insult.”
Listen, I do buy the “fogged out” part, because, one time, a middle-aged man tried to take my aisle seat at a screening of Midnight in Paris (2011), so he could place his luggage (3 giant suitcases!) along the aisle. But I’m a frequent movie urinator and specifically arrived to the theater early to snag my coveted seat. When I told him I wouldn’t move, this man called me a “disgusting, filthy little girl” and screamed to everyone that I was ageist. I was so furious, I completely fogged out for the entirety of the film. I still don’t know what happened at midnight in Paris. And, to this day, l wish horrible things upon the suitcase man, wherever he is. Hopefully crushed to death underneath all his luggage.
The next question was the Jada Pinkett Smith one: “After Jada rolled her eyes, did she tell you to do something?” Here’s Will’s response:
“No. I made a choice on my own, from my own experience, and my history with Chris. Jada had nothing to do with it. I’m sorry, babe, and I want to say sorry to my kids and my family for the heat that I brought on all of us.”
He also apologized to the nominees whose Oscars went unnoticed, because viewers were so stunned by the slap. That included Jessica Chastain, who won Best Actress, and the cast of CODA, which won Best Picture.
“To all my fellow nominees, 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 – and I am sorry isn’t really sufficient.”
The final question was, “What would you say to the people who looked up to you before the slap or people who expressed that you let them down.” Will’s answer was trés Red Table Talk:
“Two things. One, disappointing people is my central trauma. I hate when I let people down, so it hurts me psychologically and emotionally that I didn’t live up to peoples’ image and impression of me.
The work I am trying to do is, I am deeply remorseful and I’m trying to be remorseful without being ashamed of myself. I’m human and I made a mistake and I’m trying not to think of myself as a piece of shit 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. If you hang on, I promise we will be able to be friends again.”
Here’s the video:
This is the first time Will has officially addressed The Slap™, which earned him a 10-year ban from the Oscars. A couple of months ago, Jada briefly spoke about the incident on Red Table Talk. She said that she hoped her husband and Chris “heal, talk this out and reconcile.”
Will has a new Apple-produced movie, Emancipation, coming out at the end of the year. This one has Oscar bait written all over it: Will plays an enslaved man who escapes the South through the swamps of Louisiana and eventually joins the Union Army. There, doctors are shocked when Will’s character shows them the scars he got from a near-fatal beating. They take photos, which are published in newspapers across the world and provide a “a gruesome testament to the barbarity and cruelty of slavery in the antebellum South.” Deadline says that Emancipation is director Antoine Fuqua’s best film since Training Day. Apparently, Hollywood sees this movie as Will’s potential comeback. And if it flops, it means we all still hate him. So have a good think, America! This slap-happy movie star’s fate is in our hands!