Will Smith has apologised publicly for slapping Chris Rock across the face, after the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences launched a review into his behaviour.
In a statement posted to Instagram, Will Smith condemned all violence as “poisonous” and “destructive”.
“My behaviour at last night’s Academy Awards was unacceptable and inexcusable,” he wrote.
“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.”
“I would like to publicly apologise to you, Chris,” the statement continued.
“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.
“I would also like to apologise to the Academy, the producers of the show, all the attendees and everyone watching around the world. I would like to apologise to the Williams Family and my King Richard Family. I deeply regret that my behavior has stained what has been an otherwise gorgeous journey for all of us.
“I am a work in progress.”
Hours earlier, The Academy said in a statement it “condemns the actions of Mr Smith at last night’s show”.
“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,” it said.
In case you are blessed enough to have avoided The Slap in your feed, here’s the TL;DR. Chris Rock made a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith’s shaved head on stage, despite the fact she has publicly spoken about her alopecia. Will Smith got up and slapped Chris across the face, before returning to his seat. He then yelled: “Get my wife’s name out of your fucking mouth.”
— Channel 7 (@Channel7) March 28, 2022
Minutes later, Will Smith won an Oscar and apologised to the audience in his acceptance speech. But not to Chris, who at the moment isn’t looking to press charges.
The whole thing sparked a tonne of debate online. On one end people praised Will for protecting his wife’s honour. Others accused him of attempted murder. Some are calling for his Oscar to be revoked. But so far, that’s looking pretty unlikely.
The Academy does not condone violence of any form.
Tonight we are delighted to celebrate our 94th Academy Awards winners, who deserve this moment of recognition from their peers and movie lovers around the world.
— The Academy (@TheAcademy) March 28, 2022
According to The Hollywood Reporter, there will probably be some form of discipline. Will’s membership to the Academy could be revoked. But losing his Oscar? Doubtful.
Member of the Board of Governors and former Oscars host Whoopi Goldberg seems to think so anyway.
“We’re not going to take that Oscar from him,” she said on The View on Monday.
“There will be consequences I’m sure, but I don’t think that’s what they’ll do.”
Both Harvey Weinstein and Roman Polanski never lost their Oscars and they were actual sexual predators, so… slapping Chris Rock kinda pales in comparison. But I guess we’ll see.