Will Smith is finally shedding light on what he says led him to slap Chris Rock at the 2022 Oscars.
The moment has been seen millions of times and shared even more times across social media since it took place in March. But, up until Nov. 28, when he appeared on the “Daily Show,” Smith had not publicly addressed the incident in detail.
“That was a horrific night, as you can imagine. You know, there’s many nuances and complexities to it,” said Smith. As to what stirred him to act out, he said, “at the end of the day, I lost it.”
As Smith spoke with host Trevor Noah, he shared that he has no “independent recollection” of him walking onto the Oscars stage and open-handedly slapping Rock. But he is clear on how the now infamous scene has impacted not only his life, but the lives of those who witnessed it.
“I guess what I would say—you just never know what somebody’s going through. In the audience right now you’re sitting next to strangers and somebody’s mother died last week, somebody’s child is sick, somebody just lost their job, somebody just found out their spouse cheated. It’s like there’s all these things … You just don’t know what’s going on with people. I was going through something that night, and not that that justifies my behavior at all.”
Smith continued, “We just gotta be nice to each other, man. It’s hard and I guess the thing that was most painful for me is that I took my hard and made it hard for other people. I understood the idea when they say ‘hurt people hurt other people.’ “
When Noah told Smith that he is not his worst moment, the actor shed a few tears. “I understand how shocking that was for people …That was a rage that had been bottled for a really long time,” said the “Men In Black” star. He withheld the intimate details of the night close to his chest to prevent the public from further misunderstanding and speculating about the other factors that contributed to the infamous moment.
Smith is currently promoting his new film, “Emancipation.” The slave-era drama is slated to stream on Apple TV+ beginning Dec. 9. It will also play in select theaters. While the Hollywood juggernaut has proudly promoted the movie, he recently said that he understands if some people feel his comeback is taking place too soon after the Oscars debacle.
“I completely understand that if someone is not ready, I would absolutely respect that and allow them their space to not be ready,” he told “Good Day DC” host Kevin McCarthy. However, the film’s director, Antoine Fuqua, is ready for everyone to move past the viral incident. “No excuses for anyone or anything, but I can say that he’s a good man and I hope that people can forgive him and that we can move forward,” Fuqua told Variety.
Rock has not issued a public statement about being slapped by the Grammy Award-winning artist. He has though he has reportedly made his industry peer the subject of several punchlines at his various comedy shows.