Will Smith’s video apology to Chris Rock for his “unacceptable” blow at the 2022 Oscars is “too little, too late,” a Hollywood comedy insider tells Page Six exclusively.
“He didn’t do this out of the goodness of his heart,” the insider said. “Will has realized that he is not as popular as he used to be, that the furor of ‘the blow’ is not going away, and he has really done lasting damage to his career.
“People just don’t forget that Will Smith attacked someone on national television, then went out and partied like a rock star at the Vanity Fair party.”
Smith, 53, said in a YouTube post Friday that he was “drowsy” in the moments after the infamous March 27 blow, which is why he didn’t apologize to Rock later that evening in his Best Actor acceptance speech.
“I reached out to Chris, and the message that came back is that he’s not ready to talk yet, but if he is, he’ll get in touch,” said the “King Richard” star. “I’ll tell you, Chris, I apologize. My behavior was unacceptable and I’m here whenever you want to talk.”
Smith continued in the video, “Disappointing people is my central trauma. I hate it when I disappoint people, so it hurts psychologically and emotionally to know that I didn’t live up to the image and impression people had of me.
“The work I try to do is I deeply repent, and I try to repent without being ashamed of myself.”
He added: “I’m human, and I made a mistake, and I try not to think of myself as a piece of shit.”
But the Hollywood insider notes that the video “looks like it was staged by a team of therapists and publicists,” telling us, “Even the set looks like a bad psychiatrist’s office. It seems unfair.
“But the message seems to be clear to everyone in comedy: Will needs a lot more therapy.”
After being a mom for months, Rock, 57, finally broke his silence on the slap heard around the world, saying at a stand-up show in New York last Saturday: “Yeah, that doesn’t hurt, motherfucker, but I shook off that s–t and went to work the next day.
“Anyone who says words hurt has never been punched in the face,” the comedian stated while performing at Madison Square Garden with Kevin Hart and Dave Chappelle.
Rock’s publicist, Leslie Sloane, did not comment when he was reached by Page Six.
But the insider asks, “Why is Will apologizing now? What happened to open his eyes? Where is he hiding?
“Or is it that Will read the coverage of Chris’s shows and finally felt he needed to formalize it for his own career?”
The insider sniffs, “This is all so fabricated.”
A Smith representative did not immediately contact us.