In a new video, Will Smith has addressed the Chris Rock Oscars slap, and the current climate between both parties.
“It’s been a minute… Over the last few months I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and personal work,” a message from Will reads on the screen. “You asked a lot of fair questions that I wanted to take some time to answer.”
In the first question, Smith explains why he didn’t apologize to the comedian in his acceptance speech, admitting that he “was fogged out by that point” and that “it’s all fuzzy.”
He said that he’s reached out to apologize to the comedian, and Rock said he would reach back out when he is ready for the conversation.
“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,” the “King Richard” actor said in the video.
“I will say to you, Chris, I apologize to you. my behavior was unacceptable, and I’m here whenever you’re ready to talk.”
Smith, 53, further apologized to Rock’s mother and his brother Tony Rock.
“I want to apologize to Chris’s mother. I saw an interview that Chris’s mother did, and that was one of the things I just didn’t realize. You know, I wasn’t thinking, but how many people got hurt in that moment,” he said, before apologizing to Tony Rock.
“You know, we had a great relationship. Tony Rock was my man,” he said. “This is probably irreparable.”
“That was one of the things about that moment that I didn’t realize,” Smith continued. “I wasn’t thinking about how many people got hurt in that moment. I want to apologize to Chris’ mother, to Chris’ family, especially his brother Tony Rock.” He added, “This is probably irreparable.”
Smith also cleared up rumors that he slapped Rock onstage at the Oscars at the urging of his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, saying with a smile that he “made a choice on my own” and that she “had nothing to do with it.”
The King Richard actor once again reiterated that he was sorry for his actions, calling his behavior “unacceptable.”
“There is no part of me that thinks that was the right way to behave in that moment,” Smith, who sighs deeply at points and seems to be fighting back tears, says in the video. “There’s no part of me that thinks that’s the optimal way to handle a feeling of disrespect or insults.”
Smith also extended apologies to his own family, Rock’s family, Smith’s fellow nominees for Best Actor, and musician Questlove, whose win for Best Documentary Feature took place moments after the slap and was largely overshadowed by the incident. (“I can still see Questlove’s eyes,” Smith recalls. “‘I’m sorry’ really isn’t sufficient.”)
“Disappointing people is my central trauma. I hate when I let people down, so it hurts psychologically and emotionally to know that I didn’t live up to people’s image and impression of me,” he explained. “The work I’m trying to do is I am deeply remorseful, and I’m trying to be remorseful without being ashamed of myself.”
Watch the full video below: