The nearly six-minute video shows Smith, wearing a ball cap and golf shirt and seated in what appears to be his home, answering questions from fans and critics on the internet. In a sometimes halting voice, Smith expresses deep remorse for the March 27 incident that has likely cost him his place atop Tinseltown.
“It’s been a minute …,” text on the video begins. “Over the last few months, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and personal work.”
Smith then reads and answers questions about the shocking incident, in which he charged the stage at the Academy Awards show and slapped the comedian after he had made a joke at the expense of Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. Minutes later, Smith was awarded a “Best Actor” Oscar for his role as tennis patriarch Richard Williams.
“Why didn’t you apologize to Chris in your acceptance speech?” Smith begins, reading a question.
“I was fogged out by that point,” he says. “It’s all fuzzy. 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.”
Smith apologizes to Rock, his family and in particular, the comedian’s mother, who he says he saw in an interview and realized how much the incident had hurt her.
“I just didn’t realize, and you know, I wasn’t thinking about how many people got hurt in that moment,” Smith says in the video. “So, I want to apologize to Chris’s mother. I want to apologize to Chris’s family, specifically [Chris Rock’s younger brother] Tony Rock. You know, we had a great relationship. You know, Tony Rock was my man. And this is probably irreparable.”
Another question Smith addresses in the video is whether his wife put him up to attacking Rock.
“No. I made a choice on my own, from my own experiences, and my history with Chris,” Smith says. “Jada had nothing to do with it. I’m sorry, babe, and I want to say sorry to my kids and my family for the heat that I brought on all of us.”
Smith has apologized before, including shortly after the incident. Smith slapped Rock in the face after the comedian mocked Jada Pinkett Smith’s shaved head amid her hair loss battle. A stunned Rock absorbed the slap and carried on.
“Will Smith just slapped the s*** out of me,” he said as the actor returned to his seat and yelled for Rock to “keep my wife’s name outta your mouth.” Smith was not removed from the building, and a short time later, took the stage to accept his first Oscar ever — Best Actor for his role in the film “King Richard.”
Later, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences issued a 10-year ban preventing the actor from attending the annual awards show.
“I spent the last three months replaying and understanding the nuances and the complexities of what happened in that moment, and I’m not going to try to unpack all of that right now,” Smith says in the new video. “But I can say to all of you now there is no part of me that thinks that was the right way to behave in that moment.”