Will Smith Apologized For Slapping Chris Rock at the 2022 Oscars
Update March 28, 2022: Nearly 24 hours after he slapped Chris Rock at the 2022 Academy Awards, Will Smith issued an apology on Instagram. In his post, he called violence "poisonous and destructive" and told his followers that his actions were "unacceptable and inexcusable." He went to to address Rock directly, saying that the physical attack was "out of line" and "wrong."
Smith's statement comes after The Hollywood Reporter stated that the Academy's Board of Governors is looking into the incident and that there was a meeting scheduled for Wednesday to discuss further action.
"The Academy condemns the actions of Mr. Smith at last night's show. We have officially started a formal review around the incident and will explore further action and consequences in accordance with our Bylaws, Standards of Conduct and California law," reads a statement issued on Monday morning.
Whoopi Goldberg, who serves on the Board of Governors explained on The View that Smith's Oscar would not be rescinded, saying, "We're not going to take that Oscar from him. There will be consequences I'm sure, but I don't think that's what they'll do."
Previously: The 94th Academy Awards are proving to be a very historical night. And not just because of groundbreaking accolades like Ariana DeBose's Best Supporting Actress award. Will Smith (probably?) just made history as being the first person to slap Chris Rock on stage at the Oscars.
Chris Rock took the stage to present the winner for Best Documentary. Rock made an insensitive joke about Jada Pinkett-Smith's alopecia, which she has opened up about on her show, Red Table Talk. Rock said "Jada, love you, G.I. Jane 2, can't wait to see it."
Pinkett-Smith rolled her eyes at the joke and Smith furiously got up from his chair and made his way to the stage to slap Rock across the face. It took viewers a second to realize that the moment wasn't a bit or acting. Although the sound was censored, expert lip readers — and residents of Australia, where the broadcast was uncensored — witnessed Smith holler twice, "Keep my wife's name out of your fucking mouth."
"Will Smith just smacked the shit out of me," a frazzled Rock stated. "That was the greatest night in the history of television."
Later in the show Smith won the Best Actor Oscar for his portrayal of Richard Williams in his movie King Richard. When he took the stage he acknowledged the confrontation and compared defending his wife to Williams' love for his family.
"Richard Williams is a fierce defender of his family," he said to the room who gave the actor a standing ovation for his accolade. "In this time in my life and this moment I am overwhelmed by what God is calling on me to do and be in this world."
"I'm being called on in my life to love people and to protect people and to be a river to my people," he continued through tears. "I know to do what we do you gotta be able to take abuse, you gotta be able to have people talk crazy about you. In this business you gotta be able to have people disrespecting you and you gotta smile and you gotta pretend like that's okay. But Richard Williams, and what I loved —thank you D, Denzel said to me a moment ago 'At your highest moment, be careful, that's when the devil comes for you.'"
"I wanna apologize to the academy, I wanna apologize to my fellow nominees. This is a beautiful moment. I'm not crying for winning an award. It's not about winning an award for me. It's about being able to shine a light, it's about all the people," he said about his cast and crew.
He concluded, "Being able to love and care for my mother, my family, my wife. Thank you for this honor. Thank you for this moment on behalf of Richard ... and the entire Williams family. Thank you — hope the academy invites me back, thank you."
Pinkett-Smith previously shared about her hair loss on her show saying, "So, it just showed up like that and this is going to be a little bit more difficult for me to hide. So, I thought I'd just share it so y'all are not asking any questions. But you know mama's going to put some rhinestones in there. I'm going to make me a little crown. That's what mama's going to do."
Believe it or not, though, this isn't even the first time Pinkett-Smith has been the butt of one of Rock's jokes. In 2016, he made a joke about Pinkett-Smith boycotting the awards show because of its lack of diversity.
"Jada got mad, said she's not coming," he said. "Jada boycotting the Oscars is like me boycotting Rihanna's panties. I wasn't invited."