Will Smith has issued a public statement that included an apology following Sunday night’s outburst where he slapped Chris Rock on the Academy Awards stage.
In a post made to Instagram, Smith called his behavior “unacceptable and inexcusable” and said that it was an emotional reaction to a joke about his wife’s medical condition.
“Violence in all of its forms is poisonous and destructive. My behavior at last night’s Academy Awards was unacceptable and inexcusable. Jokes at my expense are a part of the job, but a joke about Jada’s medical condition was too much for me to bear and I reacted emotionally,” Will wrote.
“I would like to publicly apologize to you, Chris. I was out of line and I was wrong. I am embarrassed and my actions were not indicative of the man I want to be. There is no place for violence in a world of love and kindness,” the actor said before extending his apology to the Academy and all who witnessed his outburst.
“I would also like to apologize to the Academy, the producers of the show, all the attendees and everyone watching around the world. I would like to apologize to the Williams Family and my King Richard Family. I deeply regret that my behavior has stained what has been an otherwise gorgeous journey for all of us.”
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The incident that quickly became “the slap heard ’round the world” took place Sunday night when comedian Chris Rock was on stage to present the award for Best Documentary Feature. After throwing some good-natured jabs at some of the actors in the crowd, his attention turned to Jada Pinkett Smith who has been very open about her struggle with alopecia, an autoimmune disorder that leads to hair loss.
“Jada, I love you. G.I. Jane 2…can’t wait to see it,” Rock said to Pinkett Smith who didn’t seem impressed with the joke.
Will Smith came to his wife’s defense and made his way to the stage where he appeared to take a swing at Rock. When Smith returned to his seat he yelled at Rock saying, “Keep my wife’s name out of your ****ing mouth!” Most of the additional commentary from Rock was muted on American television.
Those in attendance appeared shocked by the incident, with Rock responding to Smith’s comment by simply saying, “That was the greatest night in the history of television.”
Less than an hour later, Will Smith returned to the stage…this time to accept the Academy Award for best actor. During his acceptance speech Smith addressed the incident with Rock, saying:
“I know to do what we do, you gotta be able to take abuse and have people talk people about you. In this business, you gotta have people disrespecting you. And you gotta smile and pretend that’s ok.”
Chris Rock has yet to speak publicly about the incident, but authorities have said that Rock won’t be pressing charges against the actor.
Watch the confrontation in the clip below.