Will Smith has issued an apology for what instantly became one of the most historic moments in the history of television at the 2022 Academy Awards.
Chris Rock made an ill-received joke about Jada Pinket-Smith’s shaved head while presenting an award. The comedian compared her to superhero G.I. Jane. “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” then took it upon himself to swat an invisible fly across Rock’s face on Sunday evening.
Will took to his Instagram to apologize for the slap heard around the world. “Violence in all of its forms is poisonous and destructive. My behavior 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.”
Will went on to explain that his severe reaction was due to knowledge about Jada’s alopecia, which Rock has said he was not privy to. Jada opened up about her struggles with the disease in a 2018 episode of “Red Table Talk.” The show has been a source of many rumors that have distilled Will’s legendary reputation.
“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,” wrote Will.
“I would also like to apologize to the Academy, the producers of the show, all the attendees and everyone watching around the world,” he continued. “I would like to apologize 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.”
Legendary producer Will Packer served as executive producer of the show. He took to Twitter to express his hurt. “Welp … I said it wouldn’t be boring #Oscars,” He tweeted after the show. “This was a very painful moment for me. On many levels.”
Will’s apology comes after an intense wave of backlash from social media and adoring fans. The Academy is reportedly debating whether to rescind Smith’s Oscar for the violence that preceded it. An emergency meeting was held on Monday (March 28) to review standards of conduct that are deemed “unacceptable.”
The New York Times reports that The Oscars prohibits “physical contact that is uninvited and, in the situation, inappropriate and unwelcome, or coercive sexual attention.” Also not allowed is “intimidation, stalking, abusive or threatening behavior, or bullying.” Disciplinary action, according to the bylaws, could include “suspension of membership or expulsion from membership.”
The guiding voice of reason for the night came from legendary actor Denzel Wshington.
During his victory speech, Will says the 67-year-old told him “At your highest moment, be careful. That’s when the devil comes for you.” Smith did not apologize to Rock during the speech. The Fresh Prince was later seen turning up at the Oscars after party to his hit song, “Gettin’ Jiggy With It.”