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Will Smith breaks silence on Oscars slap, apologizes again to Chris Rock (and everyone else)

Smith addresses questions about the incident on Instagram, apologizing again for his "unacceptable" behavior

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Will Smith breaks silence on Oscars slap
Will Smith at the 2022 Academy Awards
Photo: Neilson Barnard (Getty Images)

Almost exactly four months to the day since the slap heard ’round the world, Will Smith has returned with a new apology for his actions at the 2022 Academy Awards ceremony. To recap (though surely even the mole people have had their fill of Slap discourse by now), presenter Chris Rock made a joke at Jada Pinkett Smith’s expense, and Smith stormed the stage and slapped the comedian, shortly before winning his first Oscar for Best Actor for King Richard.

In a new video posted to his Instagram page, Smith writes that he’s “been doing a lot of thinking and personal work” since the startling incident, and “wanted to take some time to answer” fans’ questions about that night. He didn’t exactly take himself to the Red Table, but the Q&A format may be the next best thing. Addressing why he didn’t apologize to Rock in his acceptance speech, he admits, “I was fogged out by that point. It’s all fuzzy.”


“I’ve reached out to Chris and the message that came back is that he’s not ready to talk, and when he is, he will reach out,” Smith says. “So I will say to you Chris, I apologize to you. My behavior was unacceptable, and I’m here whenever you’re ready to talk.” He also apologizes to Rock’s family members who expressed their anger in the press, including his mother and brother (“Tony Rock was my man, and this is probably irreparable.”)

Others who receive apologies in the clip are Questlove, the recipient of the award that was being presented (“I’m sorry isn’t sufficient”) and his community of fellow nominees (“[It] really breaks my heart to have stolen and tarnished your moment”). He further apologizes to his own family “for the heat that I brought on all of us.”


Specifically, he expresses remorse to his wife, clarifying that Pinkett Smith didn’t do or say anything that prompted his violent outburst. “I made a choice on my own, from my own experiences, from my history with Chris. Jada had nothing to do with it,” he stresses.

Disappointing people is my central trauma. I hate when I let people down. So, it hurts, it hurts me psychologically and emotionally to know I didn’t live up to people’s image and impression of me,” Smith goes on to say. “And the work I’m trying to do is, I am deeply remorseful, and I’m trying to be remorseful without being ashamed of myself. Right? I’m human. And I made a mistake and I’m trying not to think of myself as a piece of shit.”

To anyone who felt let down by his actions, “I would say to those people, I know it was confusing, I know it was shocking,” he says. “But I promise you, I am deeply devoted and committed to putting light and love and joy into the world. And you know, if you hang on, I promise we’ll be able to be friends again.”

“I spent the last three months replaying and understanding the nuances and the complexities of what happened in that moment,” Smith reflects. “And I’m not going to try to unpack all of that right now. But I can say to all of you, there is 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.”