June 16, 2024

Will Smith Apologizes to Chris Rock For Slapping Him At the 2022 Oscars


Dimas Sanfiorenzo

Dimas Sanfiorenzo is the Managing Editor for Okayplayer. He specializes…

Will Smith Chris Rock

Photo Credit: Neilson Barnard/Getty Images

The world has been abuzz after Will Smith struck Chris Rock at the Oscars after the comedian told a joke about Jada Pinkett-Smith.

Will Smith has publicly apologized to Chris Rock for slapping him at the 2022 Academy Awards. In a lengthy statement posted to his Instagram, Smith wrote:

“My behavior at last night’s Academy Awards was unacceptable and inexcusable. Jokes at my expense are a part of the job, but a joke about Jada’s medical condition was too much for me to bear and I reacted emotionally.

I would like to publicly apologize to you, Chris. I was out of line and I was wrong. I am 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 also, again, apologized to the Academy, writing:

I would also like to apologize to the Academy, the producers of the show, all the attendees and everyone watching around the world. I would like to apologize to the Williams Family and my King Richard Family. I deeply regret that my behavior has stained what has been an otherwise gorgeous journey for all of us. “

Smith’s apology comes just hours after the Academy announced that it launched an investigation into the incident. According to EW, the Academy wrote a statement saying:

“The Academy condemns the actions of Mr. Smith at last night’s show. We have officially started a formal review around the incident and will explore further action and consequences in accordance with our Bylaws, Standards of Conduct and California law.”

Social media has been abuzz since last night when, In the middle of the telecast, Will Smith publicly walked up to Chris Rock and struck the comedian while he was in the middle of introducing the Best Documentary nominees. (Which Questlove would win.)

The moment started when Rock was doing the introduction and he made a joke about Smith’s wife Jada Pinkett-Smith being in G.I. Jane 2 because she had a shaved head. After Rock told the joke, you could see Jada Pinkett-Smith visibly annoyed. Will then walked up to the stage and struck the comedian, then walked back to his seat. At first, those in the audience wondered if it was skit. But the audience was visibly stunned and so was Rock. “Will Smith just slapped the shit out of me,” the comedian said. And Smith repeatedly yelled  “Keep my wife’s name out of your fucking mouth!”

Soon after, Diddy came on stage for a The Godfather celebration. Diddy made mention of the altercation:“Will and Chris, we’re going to solve that like family.  Right now we’re moving on with  love. Everybody make some noise.”

After the incident occurred, reports from inside say that the actor was visibly emotional and upset. Variety reported that Smith’s publicist went up and talked with him. Denzel Washington and Tyler Perry also pulled him to the side.

About 30 minutes after the incident, Will Smith won the Oscar for Best Actor for his role as Richard Williams in King Richard. Smith’s speech was emotional. Without mentioning the incident directly, Smith spoke about the importance of protecting his family and his “people.” He also apologized to the Academy for the first time.

Smith said:

“I want to apologize to the Academy. I want to apologize to all my fellow nominees. This is a beautiful moment and I’m not crying for winning an award. It’s not about winning an award for me. It’s about being able to shine a light on all of the people. Tim and Trevor and Zack and Saniyya and Demi and Aunjanue and the entire cast and crew of King Richard, Venus and Serena, the entire Williams family. Art imitates life. I look like the crazy father, just like they said about Richard Williams.” 

Last year, Pinkett-Smith announced  she shaved her head after struggling with alopecia, something she has publicly talked about for years. In the post she wrote:

“Now at this point, I can only laugh… y’all know I’ve been struggling with alopecia. Just all of a sudden, one day…it just showed up like that. Now, this is going to be a little bit more difficult for me to hide. So, I thought I’d just share it so y’all not asking any questions…Mama’s gonna have to take it down to the scalp so nobody thinks she got brain surgery or something. Me and this alopecia are going to be friends … period!”



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