Prior to making history as the fifth Black man to win an Academy Award, Smith shocked the audience when he walked on the stage and slapped presenter Chris Rock after the comedian made a joke about Pinkett Smith’s shaved head. Pinkett Smith, who has alopecia, a disorder that causes severe hair loss, was unappreciative of the joke.
Smith, who has a reputation as one of the nicest people in Hollywood, later apologized to Rock for his behavior. Pinkett Smith also shared a message on her Instagram page about healing.
“This is a season for healing and I’m here for it,” she wrote.
Smith also shared a heartfelt apology on Instagram. “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,” he wrote.
The Oscar winner went on to apologize to Rock and said he was embarrassed by his actions. He also said it was not indicative of the man he wanted to be. “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. Sincerely, Will.”
Rock hasn’t spoken out about their run-in or publicly addressed Smith’s apology.