Will Smith has been keeping a low profile since infamously slapping Chris Rock at the 94th Annual Academy Awards in March, but he’s returned with a heartfelt apology video addressing the incident.
On Friday (July 29), Smith shared a video titled “It’s been a minute…” on his YouTube page, in which he took full accountability for his actions while admitting there’s work that needs to be done to fix the mess he made.
Smith explained he’s been “thinking” and doing “personal work,” leading to him wanting to answer all the burning questions regarding that torrid night. First, the movie superstar explained the reason he didn’t apologize to Chris Rock during his Oscars acceptance speech was due to him being “fogged out.”
He also revealed he reached out to Rock after the Oscars, but the response he heard back was that he was “not ready to talk” to him. Smith said that he will reach out when that time comes before apologizing to Rock, telling him, “I’m here whenever you’re ready to talk.”
Will Smith then took his apology tour to Chris Rock’s family — namely, his mother and brother Tony, who he had a “great relationship” with. Smith also apologized to his own family “for the heat I brought on all of us.”
Things got even more interesting when the Fresh Prince star revealed he’s spent the last three months processing the slap, unpacking the “nuances” and “complexities” of the situation, as well as admitting he was wrong for slapping Chris. “There is no part of me that thinks that was the right way to behave in that moment,” he said.
Smith also confirmed that his wife Jada Pinkett, who rolled her eyes at Chris Rock’s alopecia joke that provoked the slap, had “nothing to do” with his actions. “I made a choice on my own from my own experiences, from my history with Chris,” he said.
The video closes out with Will Smith apologizing to his fellow Oscar nominees for “tarnishing” their moment, specifically Questlove, who graced the stage to accept his first Academy Award right after the slap happened. Most importantly, though, Smith explained he’s working on becoming a better man.
“Disappointing people is my central trauma. I hate when I let people down. It hurts me psychologically and emotionally to know I didn’t live up to people’s image and impression of me,” he said. “I made a mistake, and I’m trying not to think of myself as a piece of shit, so I would say to those people, I know it was confusing, I know it was shocking, but I promise you I am deeply devoted and committed to putting light and love and joy into the world. If you hang on, I promise we’ll be able to be friends again.”
Will Smith’s apology comes a few days after Chris Rock addressed the slap during a recent comedy show in Holmdel, New Jersey. It was the most Rock has ever said on the situation.
“Anyone who says words hurt has never been punched in the face,” the comedian said, per Us Weekly. “I’m not a victim. Yeah, that shit hurt, muthafucka. But I shook that shit off and went to work the next day. I don’t go to the hospital for a paper cut.”
Watch Will Smith’s full apology video below.