Superstar

Will Smith apologizes to Chris Rock for Oscar slapping incident

In an Instagram post on Monday afternoon, Smith called his behavior “unacceptable and inexcusable.”

“Making jokes at my expense is 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. “I would like to publicly apologize to you, Chris. I was out of line and I was wrong. I am embarrassed and my actions were not indicative of the man I want to be. There is no room for violence in a world of love and kindness.

Smith added in his article that “violence in all its forms is toxic and destructive.”

He also included in his note an apology to “the Academy, the producers of the show, all of the participants and everyone watching around the world”, as well as the family of tennis stars Venus and Serena. Williams and those involved in the film for which he won his Best Actor award on Sunday.

“I deeply regret that my behavior has tainted what has been an otherwise magnificent journey for all of us,” he wrote. “I am a work in progress.”

What happened

On Sunday, Smith caused a stir that changed the tone of an otherwise uplifting Oscars ceremony when he stormed the stage and punched comedian Rock in the face.

The moment came after Rock made a joke about Pinkett Smith’s shaved head.

While presenting the Best Documentary Award, Rock joked, “Jada I love you, ‘GI Jane 2’, can’t wait to see it.”

The camera cut to an unamused Pinkett Smith, who opened up about her battle with alopecia, an autoimmune disease that leads to hair loss.

“That was nice,” Rock said, appearing to respond to the joke not going well.

Rock then said, “Oh uh”, and laughed as Smith walked over to him on stage and slapped Rock in the face.

According to CNN reporter Stephanie Elam, who is in the audience, she could hear Rock getting punched. Smith said twice during the incident, according to Elam, “Keep my wife’s name out of your fucking mouth!”

Rock replied, “Oh, wow.”

For viewers at home, the cinensors muted the verbal part of the exchange between Rock and Smith.

The theater fell silent and Rock said, “It was the greatest night in television history.”

Smith’s victory overshadowed

About 40 minutes later, Smith returned to the stage, this time as the winner.

Accepting his Best Actor award for his role in ‘King Richard,’ a tearful Smith acknowledged the previous incident and apologized to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the organization behind the Oscars. , and other nominees. Name.

Smith said: “I know to do what we do, you have to be able to take abuse and have people talk about you. In this business, you have to have people who disrespect you. And you have to smile and pretend you’re okay.”

Smith shared that before his victory, his compatriot Denzel Washington shared a wisdom with him: “At your highest moment, be careful, that’s where the devil comes for you.”

Smith ended by saying he hopes the Academy will welcome him back.

CNN has reached out to reps for Chris Rock for comment.

Reaction

After the ceremony, the Oscars tweeted a short statement about the onstage incident which read, “The Academy does not condone any form of violence. Tonight we are thrilled to celebrate our 94th Academy Award winners, who deserve this moment of recognition from their peers and moviegoers around the world.”

The Los Angeles Police Department also said Rock chose not to press charges against Smith for the onstage altercation.

However, the reaction to the moment continued to boil overnight as the parties raged and morning rolled around.

At noon on Monday, the Academy issued a stronger statement, this time condemning Smith’s actions and revealing that it had begun a “formal review into the incident.”

He added that he will “explore further actions and consequences consistent with our statutes, standards of conduct and California law.”

Earlier Monday, CNN learned that Academy management “strongly considered” removing Smith from the Oscars broadcast after the incident, according to a source familiar with the matter.

The Academy

“There were immediate discussions but Academy decision makers were seated in various locations in the Dolby Theater and were unable to mobilize to make a decision before he won the Best Actor award,” said The source.

At least a dozen Academy members met virtually Monday morning to discuss a response to Smith slapping Rock, according to two sources with knowledge of the meeting.

The meeting was described as “heated” and “divided.” There was no agreement on other measures, the sources said.

The dozen members who met on their own accord and are described as influential and recognizable members of the Academy, including actors and directors. The group has no disciplinary powers, but they are considered well enough known that the Academy’s Board of Governors could be swayed in any response they might have.

There are over 9,000 voting members of the Academy, made up of Hollywood entertainers and filmmakers.

CNN’s Chloe Melas and Lisa Respers France contributed to this report.

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