Will Smith apologised to Chris Rock, the academy, and home viewers the day after slapping him on the Oscars stage and upending the 94th Academy Awards, claiming he was “out of line” and his actions “not emblematic of the guy I want to be.”
The impact from Smith’s actions during Sunday’s ceremony continued Monday, as Hollywood and the public grappled with a moment that rocked the Dolby Theatre audience and millions of viewers across the world. Smith was chastised by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for striking Rock, who had made a joke about his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, and stated an investigation would be launched.
Later that day, Smith delivered a more forceful apology than he did in his best actor winning speech, which conspicuously omitted an apology to Rock.
“Violence in all of its forms is poisonous and destructive,” said Smith in a statement issued by his publicist and posted on Instagram. “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.”
The 53-year-old actor also expressed regret to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, as well as the telecast’s producers, participants, and viewers, as well as the Williams family. Smith was honoured on Sunday for his performance in the film “King Richard” as Richard Williams, the father of Venus and Serena.
“I am a work in progress,” added Smith.
The film academy said it will evaluate Smith’s activities and “consider further action and penalties in accordance with our bylaws, rules of conduct, and California law” after scheduling a board of governors meeting to discuss the event on Monday. The Los Angeles Police Department confirmed the event on Sunday, but said it will not pursue an investigation since the person involved refused to file a police report.
Smith stunned the Dolby Theatre audience and television watchers when he stormed the stage after Rock, who was serving as a host, joked: “‘I adore you, Jada.’ G.I. Jane 2 is a sequel to G.I. Jane. ‘I’m excited to see it.'”
The joke hit a sensitive spot. Pinkett Smith, who has shaved her head, has opened up about her alopecia diagnosis. Smith walked onto the stage and slapped Rock in the face. “Get my wife’s name out of your (expletive) lips,” Smith said twice as he returned to his seat. His remarks reverberated throughout the Dolby, albeit the audio was cut for roughly 15 seconds by ABC. Smith won best actor in under an hour and received a standing ovation. Smith spoke about defending his family during his five-minute acceptance speech. He also expressed regret to the academy.