Will Smith breaks silence on Chris Rock Oscars blow in new video: ‘I’m really sorry isn’t enough’

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Will Smith finally gets into the Oscar slap drama.

He posted a new video on social media, titled “It’s Been a Minute,” on Friday, in which he answered questions about shocking host Chris Rock during the Academy Awards broadcast in March. The comedian had joked about Jada Pinkett Smith’s hair, unaware that she has alopecia, prompting Smith to storm onto the stage.

“Over the past few months, I’ve done a lot of thinking and personal work,” said a title card at the beginning of the nearly six-minute video. “You asked a lot of honest questions that I wanted to take a moment to answer.”

Smith went on to address them, starting with why he didn’t apologize to Rock that night when, shortly after the blow, Smith was back on stage to take the Best Actor award for King Richard.

“Uh…I was in a fog at the time. It’s all blurry,” he said. “I have contacted Chris and the message that came back is that he is not ready to talk and if he is he will contact you. So I will say to you Chris, I apologize to you. My behavior was unacceptable and I’ll be here when you’re ready to talk.”

He continued: “I had to apologize to Chris’s mother,” saying he saw an interview she gave about the blow. “That was one of the things at the time. I just didn’t realize… how many people were injured at that time. So I want to apologize to Chris’s mother. I want to apologize to Chris’s family, especially Tony Rock. We had a great relationship. Tony Rock was my husband. This is probably irreparable.”

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Will Smith, right, hits host Chris Rock onstage at the Oscars in Los Angeles on March 27, 2022. (Photo: TBEN Photo/Chris Pizzello, File)

He said he spent the past three months trying to understand what was happening at the time.

“I’m not going to try and unpack all that now,” he said. “But I can say to all of you, there is no part of me that thinks this was the right way to behave at the time. There is no part of me that thinks this is the optimal way to behave with a sense of disrespect or insults to deal with.”

He made it clear that Jada hadn’t told him that.

“Did she tell you to do something after Jada rolled her eyes?” No. I made my own choice from my own experiences, from my history with Chris,” he said. Jada had nothing to do with it. I’m sorry, honey. Sorry to my children and my family for the heat I put on us. all done.”

He told his fellow nominees, “It really breaks my heart to have your moment stolen and tarnished. I can still see Questlove’s eyes. It happened [during] Questlove’s [win for Best Documentary]. I’m really not sorry enough.”

He went on to say that he was disappointed in himself for disappointing people.

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“Disappointing people is my central trauma,” Smith said. “I hate it when I disappoint people,” saying it hurts him psychologically and emotionally. “The work I try to do is I deeply repent – and I try to repent without being ashamed of myself. Okay? I’m human and I made a mistake and I try not to think of myself as a piece of shit .”

So he said to anyone who was disappointed, “I know it was confusing,” he said. “I know it was shocking, but I promise you, I am deeply committed and committed to bringing light, love and joy into the world. If you persevere, I promise we can be friends again.”

The shocking moment occurred during the March 27 broadcast. Rock took the stage to present and joked about Jada’s hair, suggesting she was in a… GI Jane continuation. (Demi Moore famously shaved her head for the original film.) The comment prompted Smith to march to the stage and rock in front of the packed Dolby Theater. Smith returned to his seat and yelled obscenities at Rock, telling him never to say Jada’s name again. A stunned Rock agreed – and tried to carry on with the show.

The whole thing got weirder when Smith went on to win his Best Actor award and got a standing ovation from the audience. He did not apologize to Rock in his speech. After the show, he took his family to the Vanity Fair party, where he playfully danced to “Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It” as revelers gathered around him.

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Soon more came to light about what went on behind the scenes that evening. The Academy said in a statement that Smith was asked to leave the show but “refused”. Executive producer Will Packer later said Smith stayed with the show because Rock refused to have him arrested or removed. A member of the LAPD was backstage to explain Rock’s rights, Packer said, but he claimed Rock just wanted out of there. A Rock source has said he was never asked to remove Smith.

The day after the show, Smith publicly apologized, saying he was “out of line,” but the joke about “Jada’s medical condition” upset him. During an investigation into the night’s events, Smith resigned from the Academy days later, issuing another statement calling his behavior “unforgivable.” A week later, the organization banned him from the Oscars and other events for 10 years.

The Smith family, who lead a very public life, have said little about slap-gate. On June 1, Jada did a Red Table Talk episode about alopecia hair loss. At the outset, she delivered the blow for the first time, saying her “deepest hope is that these two intelligent, capable men will have a chance to heal, talk it out and reconcile.” But: “Until then, Will and I will continue to do what we’ve been doing for the past 28 years — and that’s keep figuring out what we call living together.”

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