Will Smith finally breaks silence on shock Oscars slap: 'Unacceptable'

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·Lifestyle & Entertainment Producer
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Will Smith shocked audiences worldwide in March when he slapped Chris Rock at the Oscars after the comedian made a joke about his wife Jada Pinkett Smith.

The actor infamously stormed on stage and slapped Chris when the comedian made the joke about Jada's shaved head, seemingly not knowing that she suffers from alopecia.

Will Smith slaps Chris Rock at the Oscars
Will Smith shocked audiences worldwide when he slapped Chris Rock at the Oscars after the comedian made a joke about his wife Jada Pinkett Smith. Photo: Getty

"Jada, I love ya. GI Jane 2, can't wait to see it!" Chris joked with the line met with uncomfortable laughter from the audience, and moments later, Will was out of his seat and slapping Chris.

"Oh wow, wow!" a shocked Chris said, "Will Smith just smacked the s**t out of me."

"Keep my wife’s name out of your f***ing mouth," Will yelled at Chris as he returned to his seat.

Chris was visibly shocked, as was everyone else in the building, when they realised this wasn't some kind of skit.

"Wow, dude! It was a GI Jane joke," Chris said, attempting to defend himself.

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Will shouted once again, "Keep my wife's name out your f***ing mouth!"

"I'm going to, OK?" Chris responded. "That was the greatest night in the history of television."

Following the shock outburst from Will, the actor was banned from the Oscars for ten years and was lucky to keep his award for Best Actor for his role in King Richard.

"Over the last few months, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and personal work," Will shared in a video uploaded to YouTube.

"You asked a lot of fair questions that I wanted to take some time to answer," he said, running through several questions, including, "Why didn’t you apologise to Chris in your acceptance speech?"

Will Smith apology to Chris Rock
Will finally broke his silence on the slap with a YouTube video. Photo: YouTube

"I was fogged out by that point. It’s all fuzzy," he said. "I’ve reached out to Chris, and the message that came back is he’s not ready to talk, and when he is he will reach out.

"I will say to you Chris, I apologise to you. My behaviour was unacceptable and I’m here whenever you’re ready to talk.

"I want to apologise 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 realise. I wasn’t thinking how many people got hurt in that moment. So I want to apologise to Chris’ mother, to his family, specifically Tony Rock."

Tony Rock is Chris' younger brother, and also an actor and comedian.

"We had a great relationship. You know, Tony Rock was my man. And this is probably irreparable," Will said. "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."

When asked if Jada had asked Will to do anything after Chris made the joke, he responded, "No. 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.

Jada Pinkett-Smith, Chris Rock and Will Smith
Jada Pinkett-Smith, Chris and Will appeared to be friends in 2005. Photo: Getty

"To all my fellow nominees – this is a community. It’s like, I won because you voted for me. 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 ... sorry really isn’t sufficient."

Questlove won the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature for Summer of Soul, with his award being announced after the slap.

"What would you say to the people who looked up to you before the slap, or people who expressed that you let them down?" the next question read.

"One, disappointing people is my central trauma. I hate when I let people down. So it hurts me psychologically and emotionally to know I didn’t live up to people’s image and impression of me," he said.

"The work I’m trying to do is, I’m deeply remorseful, and I’m trying to be remorseful without being ashamed of myself. I’m human. And I made a mistake, and I am trying not to think of myself as a piece of s***.

"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."

Fans appreciated the apology, with one user writing, "Better late than never. Proud of you."

"Hey we are all flawed as human beings, we all make terrible mistakes where our anger or frustration takes over our mind for that brief moment, and sometimes it takes time for us to apologize which is what matters, hopefully Chris will forgive you and you guys can be friends again," another said.

Others said it wasn't up to them, with one user writing, "Thing is, there’s a lot of comments here saying “we forgive you will” but to be honest it isn’t for us to forgive him. It’s up to Chris. He can only make that call."

Chris breaks silence over Oscars slap

It comes after Chris also broke his silence on the slap during a stand-up comedy show in New York.

"Yeah, that s*** hurt motherf***er. But I shook that s*** off and went to work the next day," he said onstage. "Anyone who says ‘words hurt’ has never been punched in the face."

He added that he was "not the victim" and wouldn't "go to the hospital for a paper cut".

Chris has previously touched on the topic, joking during a show in the UK in May that he'd "got most of my hearing back".

"People expect me to talk about the bulls***. I’m not going to talk about it right now. I’ll get to it eventually – on Netflix," he joked.

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