Will Smith is ‘deeply remorseful’ about Oscars slap, apologizes in new video

A man in black formalwear smiles and gestures in front of a microphone onstage
Will Smith accepts the Oscar for best actor for “King Richard” at the 2022 Academy Awards.
(Myung Chun / Los Angeles Times)

Four months after slapping comedian Chris Rock at the 2022 Oscars, Will Smith spoke out in a new video released Friday about the fallout from the now-infamous moment.

“I was fogged out by that point. It’s all fuzzy,” he said after raising the question of why he didn’t apologize to Rock in his acceptance speech.

After the slap, Smith won the Oscar for lead actor for his role in “King Richard.”

“I’ve reached out to Chris and the message that came back is that he’s not ready to talk. And when he is, he will reach out,” Smith said. “So I will say to you, Chris, I apologize to you. My behavior was unacceptable. And I’m here whenever you’re ready to talk.”


This was not Smith’s first time expressing regret for his actions on Oscar night.

In the days following the incident, the “Aladdin” actor released a statement on Instagram in which he denounced violence as “poisonous and destructive” and called his actions “unacceptable and inexcusable.” He added, “A joke about Jada’s medical condition was too much for me to bear.

Everything we know about the infamous moment at the 2022 Oscars, from the history leading up to the onstage shocker to today’s latest developments.

April 8, 2022

“I would like to publicly apologize to you, Chris. I was out of line and I was wrong,” Smith wrote in March. “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.”

In Friday’s video, Smith also apologized to Rock’s family, specifically his mother and brother Tony Rock. Smith said he and Tony Rock had a “great relationship” but acknowledged that the friendship may be “irreparable.”

Smith said that his response to Rock’s joke about wife Jada Pinkett Smith’s hair was not an “optimal way to handle a feeling of disrespect or insults.”

The “Fresh Prince” actor dispelled the notion that Pinkett Smith directed him to react to Rock, following her eye-roll reaction to the “G.I. Jane” joke. Pinkett-Smith has alopecia, which causes hair loss, and wears her hair closely cropped.

“I made a choice on my own, from my own experiences from my history with Chris,” Smith explained. “Jada had nothing to do with it, sorry babe. I wanna say sorry to my kids and my family. For the heat that I brought on all of us.”


After initially keeping relatively quiet about the situation, Pinkett Smith opened up about her thoughts on a June episode of her Facebook Watch series, “Red Table Talk.”

“About Oscar night: My deepest hope is that these two intelligent, capable men have an opportunity to heal, talk this out and reconcile,” she said last month. “With the state of the world today, we need them both, and we all actually need one another more than ever.”

Smith also recognized the impact he had on the remainder of the Oscars. He noted his fellow Philadelphian Questlove, who accepted the Oscar for his documentary “Summer of Soul” right after the incident.

“To all my fellow nominees, you know, this is a community. It’s like I won because you voted for me and it really breaks my heart to have stolen and tarnished your moment,” Smith lamented. “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.”

The incident led to Smith resigning from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and being banned from attending the Oscars ceremony — and all other academy events — for the next 10 years.

Actor Kevin Hart gave an update about how friend Will Smith is doing after slapping Chris Rock at the 2022 Oscars.

July 14, 2022

The “I Am Legend” star’s most vehement mea culpa came when he talked about letting people down.

“[D]isappointing people is my central trauma. I hate when I let people down. So it hurts,” he explained. “It hurts me psychologically and emotionally to know I didn’t live up to people’s image and impression of me.”

“And the work I’m trying to do is, I am deeply remorseful and I’m trying to be remorseful without being ashamed of myself. ... So I would say to those people, I know it was confusing. I know it was shocking. But I promise you, I am deeply devoted and committed to putting light and love and joy into the world.”

Smith’s video came out just days after Rock fully addressed the incident in his stand-up set at a New Jersey show on Sunday.

“Anyone who says words hurt has never been punched in the face,” the 57-year-old comedian joked. “I’m not a victim. Yeah, that s— hurt, m—, but I shook that s— off and went to work the next day. ... I don’t go to the hospital for a papercut.”