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Will Smith: Oscar winner’s video apology to Chris Rock transcribed in full

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Months after the infamous 2022 Oscars ceremony, Will Smith has shared an apology video in which he discusses slapping Chris Rock.

In the clip, shared to YouTube, Smith addressed the comedian, whom Smith says has declined to speak with him directly.

See below for the actor’s full remarks from the five-minute video, in which he answered questions he’s been asked since the controversial incident occured.

Firstly, he was asked why he didn’t apologise to Rock on Oscars night when he accepted an award for his performance in King Richard.

“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. I will say to you, Chris, I apologise to you. My behavior was unacceptable and I am here whenever you are ready to talk. I want to apologise to Chris’s mother. I saw an interview, and that was one of the things I just didn’t realise – I wasn’t thinking – but how many people got hurt in that moment. I want to apologise to Chris’ mother.

“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.

“I spent the last three months replaying and understanding the nuance and complexity of what happened in that moment. I’m not going to try to unpack all of that right now, but I can say to all of you, there is no part of me that thinks that was the right way to behave in that moment. No part of me that thinks that is the optimal way to handle a feeling of disrespect or insult.”

Will Smith as seen in the apology video (YouTube / Will Smith)
Will Smith as seen in the apology video (YouTube / Will Smith)

Smith then addressed whether his wife Jada Pinkett Smith, who was the target of the joke that Will Smith reacted to, had asked her husband to “do something”.

“No,” he responded. “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.I say sorry to my kids and my family for the heat that I brought on all of us. To all my fellow nominees, this is a community.

“I won because you voted for me, and it really breaks my heart to have stolen and tarnished your moment. I can still see Questlove’s eyes – it happened on Questlove’s award. It’s like ‘I’m sorry’ really isn’t sufficient.”

Lastly, Smith talked about how the night has affected him mentally over the past few months.

“Two things. One: disappointing people is my central trauma. I hate when I let people down, so it hurts me psychologically and emotionally that I didn’t live up to peoples’ image and impression of me.

“The work I am trying to do is –I am deeply remorseful and I’m trying to be remorseful without being ashamed of myself. 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.

Smith slaps Rock at the 2022 Oscars (AFP via Getty Images)
Smith slaps Rock at the 2022 Oscars (AFP via Getty Images)

“If you hang on, I promise we will be able to be friends again.”

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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