Smith apologized at length to everyone affected by the Oscars controversy

Will Smith addresses Oscar's slap in a five-minute YouTube video

(Image credit: YouTube)

Will Smith has addressed his controversial Oscar’s moment in which he slapped Chris Rock on stage. The actor posted a nearly six-minute long video on YouTube in which he discusses The Slap and why he didn’t initially discuss the moment when he accepted his Oscar for Best Actor during the same ceremony.

A recap of what happened: while on stage presenting at the Oscars, Rock made a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith’s hair, comparing her look to G.I. Jane. She has alopecia, a hair loss condition, and Will Smith responded by stepping on stage and hitting Rock, then yelling, “Keep my wife’s name out your fucking mouth.”

In the YouTube video, Smith says he was unable to address the moment in his acceptance speech because he was “fogged out” by that point. “It’s all fuzzy,” he says. “I reached out to Chris and he said he’s not ready to talk and when he is, he will reach out.”

Smith goes on to apologize to Rock, saying his own behavior was unacceptable, and that he’s there and ready to talk about the incident whenever Rock’s comfortable to. Smith also says sorry to Rock’s mother, saying he wasn’t thinking about how many people “got hurt” because of that moment, including Rock’s brother Tony.

“This is probably irreparable,” Smith says. “I spent the last three months replaying and understanding the nuances and complexities of what happened in that moment, and I’m not going to try and unpack all of that right now, but I will say to you all right now that there’s 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.” 

The Slap happened just before Questlove received his Oscar for Best Documentary, and Smith apologized directly to the Roots drummer. “I’m sorry isn’t really sufficient,” he says in the video.

Soon after the incident, Rock went on a stand-up tour, but did not address the moment. “I’m still kind of processing what happened,” he told an audience. “So, at some point I’ll talk about that shit. And it will be serious and funny.” He did later talk about the moment: “Anyone who says words hurt has never been punched in the face. I’m not a victim. Yeah, that shit hurt, motherfucker. But I shook that shit off and went to work the next day. I don’t go to the hospital for a paper cut.”

Smith, who also apologized to those who voted for him to win the Best Actor Oscar, has also been banned from the Oscars for 10 years. 

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