Actor Will Smith has publicly apologized to Chris Rock after beating the comedian at the Oscars.
The 53-year-old called his behavior at the Oscars “unacceptable and inexcusable” and said he was embarrassed by his actions.
Smith added that the joke about his wife’s health condition caused him to react “emotionally,” but “violence in all its forms is toxic and destructive.”
In a statement posted to Instagram, the actor said: “I want to publicly apologize to you Chris. I was out of line and I was wrong.
“I’m embarrassed and my actions were no indication of the man I want to be. In a world of love and kindness there is no place for violence.
“I would also like to apologize to the Academy, the producers of the show, all contestants and all viewers around the world. I would like to apologize to the Williams family and my King Richard family.
“I deeply regret that my behavior has marred an otherwise great journey for all of us.”
Smith concluded his apology by saying, “I’m a work in progress.”
Smith was condemned by the Academy when it launched a formal review of his altercation with Rock during the Academy Awards.
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The 94th annual awards ceremony descended into chaos when Smith took the stage and met the comedian in front of a star-studded audience after Rock made a joke about his wife Jada Pinkett Smith and her hair loss.
Rock had compared Smith’s wife – who suffers from alopecia – to “GI Jane”.
The incident overshadowed a night where Coda, which features a mostly deaf cast, won best picture, while Troy Kotsur made history as the first deaf male actor to win a gong.
Sir Kenneth Branagh won Best Original Screenplay for his semi-autobiographical film, Belfast.
Smith, who won his first Oscar for King Richard, appeared to take offense at a gag Rock made about Pinkett Smith’s short haircut.
The Magic Mike XXL star and Red Table Talk host has previously opened up about her struggles with alopecia, saying it has prompted her to shave her head.
Referring to Pinkett Smith’s buzzcut, Rock said, “Jada, can’t wait for GI Jane 2,” which caused the actress to roll her eyes.
Smith, however, went on stage and slapped Rock before returning to his seat and shouting twice, “Keep my wife’s name out of your damn mouth.”
The altercation left Rock shocked and nervous as he tried to continue presenting the best documentary category.
In a statement on Monday, the Film Academy said: “The Academy condemns Mr Smith’s actions at last night’s show.
“We have officially initiated a formal investigation into the incident and will consider further actions and consequences consistent with our bylaws, standards of conduct and California law.”
Art mimics life, I look like the crazy dad just like they said about Richard Williams, but love makes you do crazy thingsWill Smith
As he collected his gong, Smith apologized to the Academy and his fellow contestants, but not to Rock, and joked that he “looks like the crazy dad.”
He broke down in tears and said: “Richard Williams was a fierce defender of his family.
“I am called in my life to love people and protect people and be a flow for my people.
“I know to do what we do you have to be able to take abuse, you have to be able to have people in this business go crazy about you.
“You have to be able to have people disrespect you and you have to smile and act like that’s okay.
“I want to apologize to the academy, I want to apologize to all my fellow candidates.
“Art mimics life, I look like the crazy dad just like they said about Richard Williams, but love will make you do crazy things.”
He concluded by saying that he hoped the Academy would invite him back in the future.
The academy later said it “did not condone any form of violence” in a tweet posted from its official account.
The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) said no report was filed after the incident.
The Academy does not condone violence.
Tonight we are delighted to celebrate our 94th Oscar winners, who deserved this moment of recognition from their peers and film lovers around the world.
— The Academy (@TheAcademy) March 28, 2022
“LAPD investigative authorities are aware of an incident between two individuals during the Academy Awards program,” a spokesman for the force told the PA news agency.
“In the incident, one person hit another. The person concerned declined to make a complaint to the police.
“If the party involved desires a police report at a later date, the LAPD is available to prepare an investigative report.”
Oscars showrunner Will Packer later described the altercation as “a very painful moment for me.”
Black people have a defiant laugh when it comes to dealing with pain because there has been so much of it. I don’t feel the need to explain that to you. But I also don’t mind being transparent and saying that this was a very painful moment for me. On many levels. https://t.co/zzgeKIqrHm
— Will Packer (@willpowerpacker) March 28, 2022
He initially reacted to the incident by saying, “Welp… I said it wasn’t boring #Oscars,” a comment that drew some criticism.
He later tweeted: “Black people laugh defiantly when it comes to dealing with pain because there has been so much of it. I don’t feel the need to explain that to you.
“But I also don’t mind being transparent and saying that this was a very painful moment for me. On many levels.”
https://www.independent.ie/entertainment/movies/will-smith-issues-apology-to-chris-rock-over-oscars-slap-41497736.html Will Smith apologizes to Chris Rock for slapping him at Oscars