Three months after the “slap heard around the world,” in which Will Smith struck comedian Chris Rock after he made fun of Smith’s wife Jada Pinkett Smith, the actor has broken his silence on the incident.
In a new video posted to his YouTube channel, Smith sat calmly as he publicly apologizes to Rock for slapping the comic over the comments he made about Jada Pinkett Smith’s shaved head, which is a result of her alopecia. The actor also answered some fan questions, offering some insight into that infamous situation.
Will Smith apologized to Chris Rock while answering questions
Answering the question of why he didn’t apologize to Rock in his acceptance speech, Smith said:
“I was fogged out by that point. It is all fuzzy. I’ve reached out to Chris and the message that came back is that, he’s not ready to talk. When he is, he will reach out. I will say to you, Chris, I apologize to you. My behavior was unacceptable and I am here whenever you are ready to talk. I want to apologize to Chris’s mother. I saw an interview [she] did, and that was one of the things I just didn’t realize. I wasn’t thinking, but how many people got hurt in that moment. I want to apologize to Chris’ mother, I want to apologize to Chris’s family, specifically Tony Rock. We had a great relationship. Tony Rock was my man. This is probably irreparable. I spent the last three months replaying an understanding the nuance and complexity of what happened in that moment. I’m not going to try to unpack all of that right now, but I can say to all of you, there is no part of me that thinks that was the right way to behave in that moment. No part of me that thinks that is the optimal way to handle a feeling of disrespect or insult.”
Smith addressed whether or not Jada Pinkett Smith's reaction to Rock's comments urged him to slap the comedian.
“It’s like, you know, I made a choice on my own, from my own experiences, from my history with Chris,” Smith says in the video. “Jada had nothing to do with it. I’m sorry, babe. I wanna say sorry to my kids and my family for the heat that I brought on all of us.”
The actor also apologized for assaulting Rock right before award for best documentary was presented to Questlove.
“This is a community, It’s like I won because you voted for me,” Smith continued. “And it really breaks my heart to have stolen and tarnished your moment. I can still see Questlove’s eyes. You know, it happened on Questlove’s award. And, you know, it’s like, I’m sorry really isn’t sufficient.”
“I’m trying to be deeply remorseful without being shamed of myself. I made a mistake. I’m not trying to think of myself as a piece of sh*t," he added.
“I would say to those people, I know that it was confusing. I know that 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 will be able to be friends again.”
'The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air' star ended the video with a pledge to learn from his mistakes.
“I know it was confusing, I know it was shocking,” he says. “But I promise you, I am deeply devoted and committed to putting light and love and joy into the world. And, you know, if you hang on, I promise we’ll be able to be friends again.”