Will Smith apologizes for slapping Chris Rock after Academy exam launch

(NEXSTAR) – Will Smith has apologized for punching Chris Rock at the Oscars on Sunday night.

Smith stunned the Dolby Theater crowd and viewers at home when he took the stage during Rock’s remarks after the comedian made a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith, Smith’s wife. Rock said, “Jada, I love you. “GI Jane 2”, I can’t wait to see it.

Smith then walked across the stage and slapped Rock in the face. Once he got back to his seat, Smith yelled at Rock, twice, to “get my wife’s name out of your (expletive) mouth.” Shortly after, Smith won Best Actor and apologized to the Academy during his acceptance speech.

Pinkett Smith, whose head is shaved, has spoken publicly about her diagnosis of alopecia. Rock has also joked about her before.

“Making jokes at my expense is part of the job, but a joke about Jada’s medical condition was too much for me to bear and I reacted emotionally,” Smith said in an Instagram post Monday night.

“I would like to publicly apologize to you, Chris. I was out of place and I was wrong. I am embarrassed and my actions were not indicative of the man I want to be,” he continued. “There is no place for violence in a world of love and kindness. I would also like to apologize to the Academy, the producers of the show, all of the contestants, 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 tainted what has been an otherwise magnificent journey for all of us.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences condemned Smith’s actions on Monday, adding in a statement that “we have officially begun a formal review around the incident and will explore further actions and consequences in accordance with our bylaws, standards of Conduct and California Law”.

The Los Angeles Police Department said Sunday it was aware of a slap incident at the Oscars, but said the person involved declined to file a police report.

“That moment will forever be in Will Smith’s shadow now. We won’t remember Will Smith winning the Oscar this year, people will remember it like, ‘Oh, that’s the year Will Smith won. slapped or hit Chris Rock with his bare hands,” entertainment reporter Josh McBride said in “Morning in America.”

Smith ended his public apology by saying, “I’m a work in progress.”

The Associated Press and Sydney Kalich of NewsNation contributed to this report.


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