Will Smith has apologised to Chris Rock following the 2022 Oscars slap

He apologised directly to Chris Rock, as well as to Serena and Venus Williams' family. 
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Emma McIntyre

On Sunday night at the 2022 Oscars, Will Smith got out of his seat, stepped onto the stage at the Dolby Theater, and slapped presenter Chris Rock in the face. Shortly after, he accepted the best actor award. 

The slap, a response to a comment by Chris Rock about Will Smith's wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, instantly became world news. Jada has been open about her struggles with alopecia. Rock's joke compared her to the lead character in the movie G.I. Jane. That character, played in the 1997 movie by Demi Moore, had a shaved head. 

On Monday, Smith posted an apology on Instagram. “Violence in all of its forms is poisonous and destructive,” he wrote. “My behaviour 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.” 

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He went on, "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.”

He ended by apologising more widely: “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 behaviour has stained what has been an otherwise gorgeous journey for all of us.” 

He ended the note, “I am a work in progress.” 

During his best actor acceptance speech on Sunday night, Smith referenced the incident indirectly, though he did not apologize to Rock. “I want to apologize to the Academy. I want to apologize to all my fellow nominees," he said. “Art imitates life. I look like the crazy father, just like they said about Richard Williams,” he added, later in the speech. “But love will make you do crazy things.” 

On Sunday, the Los Angeles Police Department said that Rock had not chosen to file a police report concerning Smith. On Monday, the Academy released a statement condemning Smith's action and adding that a “formal review” is underway.  

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