Will Smith breaks silence on Chris Rock slap in heartfelt statement

29 March 2022, 11:21

The Oscar-winning actor has apologised to Chris Rock for the slapping incident, saying his behaviour was "unacceptable and inexcusable"

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Will Smith has apologised in a statement on Instagram for slapping Chris Rock in the face at the 94th Academy Awards after the comedian joked about Jada's hair loss on stage whilst presenting the Best Documentary award.

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

He continued: "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".

"I would also like to apologize to the Academy, the producers of the show, all the attendees and everyone watching around the world. I would like to apologize to the Williams Family and my King Richard Family. I deeply regret that my behavior has stained what has been an otherwise gorgeous journey for all of us. I am a work in progress. Sincerely, Will".

Will Smith slaps US actor Chris Rock onstage during the 94th Oscars at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, California on March 27, 2022
Will Smith slaps US actor Chris Rock onstage during the 94th Oscars at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, California on March 27, 2022. Picture: Getty

During the live airing of the award show, Rock mocked Jada's current appearance by saying "Jada, I love ya. G.I. Jane 2, can't wait to see ya", alluding to her hair loss and years of suffering from alopecia.

After the joke was made, Smith walked onstage, slapped Rock in the face and then returned to his seat before yelling "keep my wife’s name out of your f***ing mouth" twice.

Will Smith attends 2022 Vanity Fair Oscar Party on March 27, 2022 in Beverly Hills, California
Will Smith attends 2022 Vanity Fair Oscar Party on March 27, 2022 in Beverly Hills, California. Picture: Getty

After the incident, Smith went onto win the the Best Actor award for his portrayal of Richard Williams in the 2021 biopic King Richard; a film about the life and times of father and coach of Venus and Serena Williams.

During his heartfelt speech, the legendary actor apologised to the Academy for his actions saying:

"Art imitates life. I look like the crazy father, just like they said. I look like the crazy father just like they said about Richard Williams. But love will make you do crazy things".

Will Smith accepts the award for Best Actor in a Leading Role for "King Richard" during the show at the 94th Academy Awards at the Dolby Theatre at Ovation Hollywood on Sunday, March 27, 2022
Will Smith accepts the award for Best Actor in a Leading Role for "King Richard" during the show at the 94th Academy Awards at the Dolby Theatre at Ovation Hollywood on Sunday, March 27, 2022. Picture: Getty

"I know to do what we do, you gotta be able to take abuse, and you gotta be able to have people talk crazy about you. In this business, you gotta be able to have people disrespecting you and you gotta smile and you gotta pretend like that‘s OK".

Jada Pinkett Smith, Willow Smith, Will Smith, Jaden Smith and Trey Smith attend the 2022 Vanity Fair Oscar Party on March 27, 2022 in Beverly Hills, California
Jada Pinkett Smith, Willow Smith, Will Smith, Jaden Smith and Trey Smith attend the 2022 Vanity Fair Oscar Party on March 27, 2022 in Beverly Hills, California. Picture: Getty

According to the Los Angeles Police Department, Rock declined to file a report on the incident, claiming in a statement:

"LAPD investigative entities are aware of an incident between two individuals during the Academy Awards program. The incident involved one individual slapping another. The individual involved has declined to file a police report. If the involved party desires a police report at a later date, LAPD will be available to complete an investigative report".

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