For the first time, Will Smith is addressing the incident that occurred between himself and comedian Chris Rock on video.
In a YouTube video titled “It’s Been A Minute…,” Smith sits solo in what appears to be a home office, and answers what he describes as “fair questions” he received while spending the last few months “doing a lot of thinking and personal work.”
When asked why he didn’t use his acceptance speech as an opportunity to apologize to Chris Rock in the moment, Smith said he was “fogged out by that point. It’s all fuzzy.”
Smith says he has reached out to Rock to apologize to him directly, but the word he has received is that the comedian is not yet ready to speak with him, and will reach out himself when he is.
“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.”
Taking his remorse a step further, Smith apologized to Rock’s family as well, apologizing not only to his mother, but to his brother Tony Rock, who has been very vocal about his disdain for Smith in the wake of the slap.
“I want to apologize to Chris’s family, specifically Tony Rock,” he went on. “We had a great relationship. Tony Rock was my man. This is probably irreparable.”
Smith explained that he has spent the last three months replaying the incident in his mind and gaining an understanding of the layers of complexities of the moment, and knows it was not the right choice.
“There is no part of me that thinks that was the right way to behave in that moment,” he said. “There’s no part of me that thinks that’s the optimal way to handle a feeling of disrespect or insults.”
He also made it clear that his wife Jada Pinkett-Smith did not egg him on, nor instruct him toward having a violent moment with Rock.
“I made a choice on my own, from my own experiences, from my history with Chris. Jada had nothing to do with it,” he clarified, apologizing to her, his children, and his entire family for bringing “heat” upon them
Smith also apologized to the other Academy Award nominees and winners receiving honors that evening, as ‘the slap’ has overshadowed much of the conversation surrounding this year’s Academy Awards ceremony.
“It really breaks my heart to have stolen and tarnished your moment,” he said. “I can still see Questlove’s eyes. It happened on Questlove’s award. ‘I’m sorry’ really isn’t sufficient.”
Smith closed the video by addressing the millions of fans and media consumers who have found themselves let down by Smith’s outburst at the Academy Awards.
“Disappointing people is my central trauma. I hate when I let people down,” Smith said. “It hurts me psychologically and emotionally to know I didn’t live up to people’s image and impression of me.”
“I’m human. I made a mistake, and I’m trying not to think of myself as a piece of shit,” Smith concluded. “I know it was shocking, but I promise you I am deeply devoted and committed to putting life and love and joy into the world. If you hang on, I promise we’ll be able to be friends again.”
Take a look at the video below: