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Will Smith: Four talking points from actor’s apology video for the Chris Rock Oscars slap

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Will Smith has made a public apology to Chris Rock, his wife Jada Pinkett Smith, and various other people in a new video, published on Friday (29 July).

In the nearly six-minute clip, the actor addressed his altercation with the comedian at the Oscars in March, which took place after Rock made a joke in reference to Pinkett Smith’s hair.

Smith approached Rock on stage and hit him across the face, before swearing at him.

The moment has been discussed widely since, with celebrities and viewers commenting on the shocking altercation.

Three months after the incident, Smith’s video to his fans answers some questions about the moment. (You can read the full transcript of the video here.)

Here are the major talking points from the video...

Will Smith and Chris Rock at the Oscars (Getty)
Will Smith and Chris Rock at the Oscars (Getty)

Why Will Smith didn’t apologise to Chris Rock at the time?

Soon after the slap took place, Smith won the Best Actor award for his performance in King Richard.

Some have wondered why he didn’t take the opportunity to apologise to Rock during his acceptance speech. In Friday’s video Smith explained that he wasn’t feeling focused enough to address the situation immediately.

“I was fogged out by that point,” he said. “It is all fuzzy. I’ve 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.”

What’s Will Smith’s relationship to Chris Rock and his family like now?

In terms of reconciliation, it seems there is still plenty of work to be done. While Smith explained that Rock does not yet feel ready to talk, he confirmed that he’ll always be ready to mend their relationship.

“I will say to you, Chris, I apologise to you,” Smith said in the video. “My behaviour was unacceptable and I am here whenever you are ready to talk.”

He went on to explain that he didn’t realise until later “how many people got hurt” by his actions, eventually apologising to Chris Rock’s mother and brother, as well.

Smith said: “I want to apologise to Chris’s family, specifically Tony Rock. We had a great relationship. Tony Rock was my man. This is probably irreparable.”

Jada Pinkett Smith promises details of her family’s ‘deep healing’ will be shared (Doug Peters/PA) (PA Wire)
Jada Pinkett Smith promises details of her family’s ‘deep healing’ will be shared (Doug Peters/PA) (PA Wire)

Did Jada Pinkett Smith ask Will Smith to intervene?

In the video, the actor clarified that Pinkett Smith did not encourage him to approach Rock on stage.

“No,” Smith said firmly. “It’s like, I made a choice on my own, from my own experiences, from my history with Chris.

“Jada had nothing to do with it. I’m sorry, babe.”

How does Will Smith feel about the incident now?

Throughout the video, Smith expressed remorse for his behaviour, telling the camera: “There's no part of me that thinks that's the optimal way to handle a feeling of disrespect or insults.”

After saying that disappointing people is his “central trauma”, Smith promised those who looked up to him that he’s devoted to making a change.

“I am deeply remorseful and I’m trying to be remorseful without being ashamed of myself,” Smith explained. “I’m human and I made a mistake and I’m trying not to think of myself as a piece of s***. So I would say to those people, I know it was confusing. I know it was shocking. But I promise you, I am deeply devoted and committed to putting light and love and joy into the world.”

Rock himself addressed the slap in a comedy set he performed earlier this week (24 July) in New Jersey.

Jada Pinkett Smith has also commented on the incident.

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