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Will Smith's apology tour continues with Trevor Noah stop: "I had to humble down"

Will Smith once again addresses the Oscars Slap during an appearance on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah

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Will Smith apology tour continues with Trevor Noah stop
Will Smith
Screenshot: Comedy Central/YouTube

Will Smith is making his reentry into society. With the press tour for his new film Emancipation kicking into gear, the actor is now making more appearances, and as a result, giving more explanations for the fateful Slap. It would be impossible for him to ignore the Oscars night assault of Chris Rock, but Smith, a notable oversharer, is choosing to lean in to the situation, as he did in his latest conversation with Trevor Noah on The Daily Show.

In the interview, the pair first discuss Emancipation (and Smith mentions filming for his National Geographic show, so yeah, he’s not completely blacklisted). When the conversation finally turns to The Slap, Smith says with a laugh that he has “no independent recollection of” the whirlwind night that included the low low of the physical altercation with Rock and the high high of his first Oscar win.

However, he says, “That was a horrific night, as you can imagine. You know, there’s many nuances and complexities to it. But at the end of the day, I just—I lost it, you know? I guess what I would say… you just never know what somebody is going through.” Addressing the audience, he lists possible afflictions those strangers might be facing: the death of a loved one, a spouse cheating, a sick child, etc. “You just don’t know what’s going on with people. And I was going through something that night, you know? Not that that justifies my behavior at all.”

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He continues, “I would just say, you’re asking what did I learn. And it’s that, um… we just gotta be nice to each other, man. You know? It’s like, it’s hard. And I guess the thing that was most painful for me is, I took my hard and made it hard for other people. You know? It’s like, I understood the idea when they say hurt people hurt people.”

When Noah speculates as to what caused Smith’s outburst, the actor admits, “It was a lot of things. It was the little boy that watched his father beat up his mother, you know? All of that just bubbled up in that moment. … That’s not who I want to be.”

Will Smith - “Emancipation” | The Daily Show

Noah generously replies that The Slap is not who he is, bringing up his distaste for the Hollywood Reporter article that grouped Smith and Letitia Wright with abusers and sexual assaulters. “And again, what you did was fucked up. I’ll always tell you that. I love Chris. I’m friends with him. I love you, I’m friends with—but this is fucked up! But I was like, ‘This is not the same world,’ and that’s why it was weird,” Noah argues, adding that “Some people were overreacting, which made some people underreact” to the issue.

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“I understand how shocking that was for people, man,” Smith says, agreeing that he was “dazed” when it happened. “I was gone, dude. That was a rage that had been bottled for a really long time. … I understand the pain.”

“My nephew, Dom, is nine. He is the sweetest little boy. We came home. And it’s like, he had stayed up late to see his uncle Will, you know?” Smith shares. “And we’re sitting in my kitchen and he is on my lap and he is holding the Oscar and he’s just like, ‘Why did you hit that man, Uncle Will?’ … It was a mess. I don’t want to go too far into it, to give people more to misunderstand.”

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He goes on to repeat that he hopes the Emancipation team won’t face the consequences of his actions: “It’s like these top artists in the world have done some of the best work of their career. And the idea that they might be denied because of me is like… ugh. That is killing me dead, you know? And it’s like, the thing that is so critical for me is that these people came and they trusted me and they were down for me. And I just… I hope that their work will be honored, and their work will not be tainted based on, you know, a horrific decision on my part.”

As for where he is with the situation now, Smith reflects, “I think that was one of the big things for me over this last couple of months, you know, that I had to forgive myself for being human. And it’s like… trust me, there’s nobody that hates the fact that I’m human more than me.”

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He is still “finding that space for myself, within myself, to be human,” he says. “I’ve always wanted to be Superman, I’ve always wanted to swoop in and save the damsel in distress. And I had to humble down, and realize that I’m a flawed human. And, um, I still have an opportunity to go out in the world and contribute in a way that fills my heart, and hopefully helps other people.”