Will Smith apologizes to Chris Rock for 'unacceptable and inexcusable' Oscars slap

Chris Rock
(Image credit: Neilson Barnard/Getty Images)

Will Smith has apologized for his "inexcusable" behavior at the 2022 Oscars.

The actor in a statement on Instagram Monday publicly apologized for slapping comedian Chris Rock at the Academy Awards on Sunday night.

"I was out of line and I was wrong," Smith said. "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."

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During the Oscars, Rock made a joke about Smith's wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, while introducing an award. "G.I. Jane 2, can't wait to see it," Rock quipped, referring to her shaved head. Smith has been open about her struggle with alopecia, though TMZ reports Rock was not aware of this. After the remark, Will Smith walked onto the stage and slapped Rock across the face on live television. The actor proceeded to yell, "Get my wife's name out of your f--king mouth!"

Later, Smith won the Academy Award for Best Actor. He apologized in his acceptance speech to the Academy, though not to Rock. But on Instagram, Smith offered an apology to Rock directly, writing that "violence in all of its forms is poisonous and destructive" and that his behavior 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," Smith wrote.

Smith also apologized to the Academy, the producers of the Oscars, and to the Williams family; he won his Oscar for playing the father of tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams in King Richard. "I deeply regret that my behavior has stained what has been an otherwise gorgeous journey for all of us," Smith wrote, concluding, "I am a work in progress."

Smith's apology came after the Academy condemned Smith, saying it would open a formal review into the incident and explore "further action and consequences."

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Brendan Morrow

Brendan is a staff writer at The Week. A graduate of Hofstra University with a degree in journalism, he also writes about horror films for Bloody Disgusting and has previously contributed to The Cheat Sheet, Heavy, WhatCulture, and more. He lives in New York City surrounded by Star Wars posters.