Will Smith Breaks Silence After Oscars Slap Incident, Reveals Where Things Stand With Him And Chris Rock Right Now

It’s hard to believe that it’s been almost four months since Will Smith slapped Chris Rock at the Oscars. The conversation surrounding the event has kept itself alive and well in the press, with reactions coming from all ends of the spectrum. However, we haven’t heard Smith’s take on the events until now, as the King Richard actor has broken his silence and revealed where things stand with him and Chris Rock right now. 

Will Smith posted a recent video on Instagram, as well as through his official YouTube channel, addressing the matter directly. Answering questions that were posed to him about the incident at this year’s 94th Academy Awards, the first query raised was about why he hadn’t apologized to Chris Rock in his acceptance speech. Smith answered as follows: 

I was fogged out by that point. It’s all fuzzy. I 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. 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.

Throughout the video, entitled “It’s been a minute…,” Will Smith can be seen holding back his emotions while making his statement. It’s most noticeable in the next section of Smith’s apology, wherein he presumably references Rosalie “Rose” Rock’s post-slap interview, in which she claimed that when Chris Rock was slapped on stage, she felt slapped herself. With that in mind, here's how Will Smith's apology continued: 

I want to apologize to Chris’s mother. I saw an interview that Chris’s mother did. You know, that was one of the things about that moment I just didn’t realize. I wasn’t thinking about how many people got hurt in that moment. So I want to apologize to Chris’s mother, I want to apologize to Chris’s family, specifically Tony Rock. We had a great relationship. You know, Tony Rock was my man. And this is probably irreparable.

Tony Rock’s reaction to “The Slap” in the weeks that followed was certainly one of major disappointment in how Will Smith handled the situation. As time as gone on, Chris Rock’s brother is another party that hasn’t been shy about their feelings on the matter. Most recently, Tony speculated on Smith’s motivations behind taking the action that he did, and that hurt can still be felt.

As Will Smith’s Q&A progresses, the recent Academy Award winner pointed towards other concerns from the night. A question about whether Jada Pinkett Smith asked him to do something about Chris Rock’s joke, as well as an apology to his fellow Oscar nominees, come up right after Smith’s apology to the Rock family. Will Smith even made it a point to apologize to Questlove, who became one of 2022 Oscar winners as Chris Rock was presenting the award for Best Documentary (Feature). 

Perhaps the most poignant point of Will Smith's apology is when he admits to the personal traumas that were a part of his motivations. Citing his constant want to avoid disappointing people, it's hard not to connect that notion to Smith's recent David Letterman interview, where he mentioned a nightmare in which he was unable to protect his family. 

Keep that in mind as you watch the entirety of Will’s video concerning everything mentioned above, which is included below: 

This probably won’t be the last we hear from Will Smith on the matter, as it sounds like he’s just starting to unpack these past couple of months himself. For the moment, Chris Rock is still not responding directly to the events that transpired between him and Smith, or the apology that was given. 

Time will tell where this story goes, but at least in this moment we have a better understanding of where Will Smith stands. Hopefully that means some sort of healing process can begin between both parties, but no one can truly say. As always, all anyone can hope for is peace and understanding to show the best way forward. 

Mike Reyes
Senior Movies Contributor

CinemaBlend's James Bond (expert). Also versed in Large Scale Aggressors, time travel, and Guillermo del Toro. He fights for The User.