By PAUL BOIS Will Smith has publicly apologized to comedian Chris Rock for violently assaulting him during the Oscars telecast on Sunday night, denouncing his own behavior as “unacceptable and inexcusable.”
In a statement posted to Instagram, Will Smith, who won the Oscar for his lead performance in “King Richard,” expressed regret for how his behavior overshadowed the event and apologized directly to Chris Rock.
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. 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.
I would also like to apologize to the Academy, the producers of the show, all the attendees and everyone watching around the world. 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.
I am a work in progress.
The Academy Awards fell dead silent on Sunday night when Will Smith suddenly stormed the stage and publicly slapped comedian Chris Rock for cracking a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith’s short haircut.
“Keep my wife’s name out your fucking mouth,” Will Smith shouted at a visibly surprised Rock after walking back to his seat.
Will Smith stayed for the remainder of the evening and even accepted the award for Best Actor, during which he appeared to condone his behavior by saying “love will make you do crazy things” and how he was channeling his character Richard Williams by defending his family.
Smith did attend the Vanity Fair Oscars afterparty and danced the night away.
On Monday, the Screen Actor’s Guild (SAG-AFTRA) publicly condemned Will Smith’s “unacceptable” behavior while vowing to ensure it will be “appropriately addressed.”
“As the union representing presenters and other performers working on the Oscars, SAG-AFTRA is focused on ensuring our members always work in a safe environment,” SAG-AFTRA said. “Violence or physical abuse in the workplace is never appropriate and the union condemns any such conduct.”
The incident involving Will Smith and Chris Rock at last night’s Academy Awards was unacceptable,” it added. “We have been in contact with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and ABC about this incident and will work to ensure this behavior is appropriately addressed. SAG-AFTRA does not comment on any pending member disciplinary process.”
The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences (AMPAS) also announced on Monday that it will be launching a thorough investigation of the incident.
“The Academy condemns the actions of Mr. Smith at last night’s show,” it said. “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.”