Will Smith apologises for Chris Rock Oscars slap: 'Embarrassed’

·Contributor
·3-min read

Will Smith has issued an unreserved apology to Chris Rock following the shocking slapping incident that took place at the Oscars on Sunday night.

Posting a statement to Instagram 24 hours after the world watched him hit the comedian across the face and then hurl verbal abuse at him, Smith said he "deeply regrets" and is "embarrassed" by his behaviour.

will smith holding an oscar
Will Smith has apologised for slapping Chris Rock at the Oscars. Photo: Getty

"Violence in all of its forms is poisonous and destructive," he wrote, "My behaviour 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."

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"I would like to publicly apologise 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."

The actor went on to apologise to the Academy, the public, the King Richard team and the Williams family - who the film is about - describing himself as "a work in progress".

Smith could be stripped of Oscar

The apology came after the Academy launched a formal investigation into the incident that saw Smith storm onto the stage after Rock made a joke about his wife Jada Pinkett-Smith’s hair loss.

Rock said, "Jada, I love ya. G.I. Jane 2, can't wait to see it," in reference to the 1997 film about a female soldier with a shaved head.

Pinkett-Smith, who looked clearly unimpressed by the joke at the time, has long been vocal about her struggle with a form of alopecia - a medical condition that causes hair loss.

Moments after Rock made the joke, Smith was out of his seat and approaching Rock on stage. After hitting him, he returned to his seat and yelled, "Keep my wife's name out your f***ing mouth!" at Rock twice.

Will Smith slaps Chris Rock onstage during the 94th Oscars
A shocked Rock initially responded to the slap by saying, "Oh wow, wow! Will Smith just smacked the s**t out of me." Photo: Getty

According to a CNN source, 'Academy decision makers' began discussing what to do immediately after the incident took place but no action was taken and the ceremony continued as planned.

Smith later won the Best Actor award for his performance in King Richard - a film about the family of tennis champions Venus and Serena Williams in which Smith plays their father, Richard - and used his acceptance speech to offer an apology of sorts.

He apologised to the Academy and his 'fellow nominees', but did not mention Rock by name and attempted to explain himself by saying, "love will make you do crazy things."

The following day, the Academy released a statement condemning Smith's behaviour and saying it's considering 'further action'.

Will Smith and wife Jada Pinkett-Smith at Vanity Fair Oscar Party
Smith and wife Jada Pinkett-Smith - who has long been vocal about her alopecia - attended the Vanity Fair after party with their kids following the ceremony. Photo: Getty

"The Academy condemns the actions of Mr. Smith at last night’s show," a spokesperson said, "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."

Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Police Department said it is aware of the incident but will not be taking any action as "the individual involved has declined to file a police report."

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