Will Smith breaks silence on Chris Rock slap: 'This is probably irreparable'

Actor answers fan questions about the shocking Oscars 2022 moment in March

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Will Smith shared a heartfelt video on social media on Friday, directly addressing the moment at the Oscars when he slapped presenter Chris Rock.

In the video, the first time the actor has addressed the incident since his apology post in March, an earnest-looking Smith answers fan questions on the fallout from the slap, which made news around the world.

“Over the last few months, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and personal work. You asked a lot of fair questions that I wanted to take some time to answer,” Smith says at the beginning of the video.

While Rock was presenting an award during the Oscars ceremony, he made a joke about Smith's wife, actress Jada Pinkett Smith, and her hair.

Smith stormed the stage and slapped Rock across the face before returning to his chair, screaming expletives, in what has become one of the most shocking Oscars moments ever.

One of the first questions Smith answers in the video is why he didn't apologise to Rock during his acceptance speech when he won the Best Actor award.

“I was far down by that point. It’s all fuzzy,” Smith says. “I've reached out to Chris and the message that came back is that he’s not ready to talk. And when he is, he will reach out.”

He then addresses Rock directly: “I apologise to you. My behaviour was unacceptable and I’m here whenever you’re ready to talk.”

Smith also apologises to Rock's mother, Rose, who has said that the incident felt as if Smith had slapped her.

“When Will slapped Chris, he slapped all of us, but he really slapped me,” Rose said in an interview with US television station WIS following the incident.

In the video, Smith offers his apologies to Rose and Rock's extended family.

“I wasn’t thinking how many people got hurt in that moment. This is probably irreparable,” he says.

Answering a question about whether or not it was his wife who had asked him to do something, Smith says he “made my the choice on my own from my own experiences with Chris”.

“Jada had nothing to do with it,” he says, and then adds: “I am sorry, babe.”

Smith also apologises to all his fellow nominees and Academy members, saying: “It breaks my heart to have stolen and tarnished your moment. 'I am sorry' isn’t really sufficient.”

To a question about what message he had for fans who used to look up to him, Smith says he's “deeply remorseful”.

“Disappointing people is my central trauma. I hate when I let people down,” he says. “So, it hurts to know that I didn’t live up to people’s image and impression of me. And the work I’m trying to do is that, I’m deeply remorseful. And I am trying to be remorseful without being ashamed of myself. I am only human.”

He then concludes the video with a promise, that he has become devoted to bettering himself.

“I know it was confusing. I know it was shocking. But I promise you, I am deeply devoted to putting light and love and joy into the world,” he says.

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

Updated: July 29, 2022, 7:46 PM
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