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‘Embarrassed’ Will Smith apologises to Chris Rock for Oscars slap: ‘I was out of line’

Motion Picture Academy is currently considering ‘consequences’ for incident

Josh Marcus,Roisin O'Connor
Tuesday 29 March 2022 14:38 BST
Moment Will Smith slaps Chris Rock at the 2022 Oscars

Will Smith has apologised for slapping Chris Rock at the Oscars after the comedian made a joke about his wife Jada Pinkett Smith.

The actor shocked the live audience at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles on Sunday, 27 March, when he strode on stage and hit Rock across the face with an open hand during the ceremony. Rock had just made a joke about Pinkett Smith’s baldness, a result of alopecia.

Smith then returned to his seat, yelling at Rock to keep Pinkett Smith’s name out of his “f***ing mouth”.

Minutes later, he received the Oscar for Best Actor and made a tearful speech in which he apologised to all except Rock.

Smith has since released an official statement apologising to the comedian.

“I was out of line and I was wrong,” Smith said, in an apology addressed specifically to Rock and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

In his apology, the King Richard star said he understood that jokes were part of his life as a public figure, and that “violence in all of its forms is poisonous and destructive”.

“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 emotionally,” he said. “I would like to publicly apologise 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.”

Will Smith breaks down in tears during Oscars acceptance speech

Smith also apologised to tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams, whose father he played in King Richard.

He said he was sorry his “behaviour has stained what has been an otherwise gorgeous journey for all of us.”

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The statement was posted from his official Instagram in the early hours of Tuesday 29 March.

The Academy has said it may discipline the actor for the incident.

“The Academy condemns the actions of Mr Smith at last night’s show,” said the organisation in a statement, following the controversy. “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.”

Smith’s actions have divided opinion in Hollywood and on social media, with a number of celebrities, critics and public figures – including senators and British MPs – offering their thoughts on the incident.

Last night (Monday 28 March), former Golden Globes host Ricky Gervais appeared to react to the altercation by sharing a clip from his popular series, The Office.

He also told fans what he would have said in his opening speech, should he have hosted this year’s Oscars.

Find the full list of 2022 Oscar winners here. See the latest updates and reactions from the dramatic ceremony here, and read about the biggest talking points here.

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