Will Smith Apologizes to Chris Rock for Oscars Slap: 'My Behavior Was Unacceptable and Inexcusable'

In the face of a mounting backlash, Will Smith has issued a belated apology to Chris Rock following the slap heard (and seen) ’round the globe.

“Violence in all of its forms is poisonous and destructive,” Smith wrote in an Instagram post on Monday evening. “My behavior at last night’s Academy Awards was unacceptable and inexcusable. Jokes at my expense are a part of the job, but a joke about Jada’s medical condition was too much for me to bear and I reacted emotionally. 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 place for violence in a world of love and kindness.”

He continued, “I would also like to apologize to the Academy, the producers of the show, all the attendees and everyone watching around the world. I would like to apologize to the Williams Family and my King Richard Family. I deeply regret that my behavior has stained what has been an otherwise gorgeous journey for all of us. I am a work in progress. Sincerely, Will.”

In case you’ve been living under an XXL rock the past 24 hours, the heated moment between Rock and Will Smith occurred about two-and-a-half hours into ABC’s Oscar broadcast on Sunday night. While presenting Best Documentary Feature, Rock quipped, “Jada, I love ya. GI Jane 2 — can’t wait to see it,” directing his comments at Jada Pinkett Smith, who is bald and who has previously spoken publicly about her hair loss condition, alopecia.

Though Smith appeared to laugh at the joke at first, Pinkett Smith rolled her eyes and appeared displeased. Soon after, Smith walked up to the stage and took a swing at Rock. “Wow, Will Smith just smacked the s–t out of me,” Rock said. Then Smith, who had returned to his seat, yelled from the audience, “Keep my wife’s name out your f–king mouth” and repeated it after Rock protested that the dig had just been a joke.

Smith went on to clinch the Best Actor award, addressing the incident (albeit indirectly) in his acceptance speech. “Denzel [Washington] said to me, ‘At your highest moment, be careful — that’s when the devil comes for you,” he said through tears, before adding, “I want to apologize to the Academy. I want to apologize to my fellow nominees.”

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