Will Smith Explains Oscars Slap, Says It Was ‘Rage That Had Been Bottled For A Really Long Time’

Will Smith
Jim Spellman/WireImage via Getty Images

Actor Will Smith, 54, spoke with Trevor Noah on “The Daily Show” Monday, blaming his violent outburst against Chris Rock on an underlying “rage” that had been festering for some time. 

“I was gone, dude,” Smith told Noah about the incident, according to Variety. “That was a rage that had been bottled for a really long time.”

The actor attempted to explain his behavior, saying, “you just never know what somebody is going through.”

“I was going through something that night,” Smith told the audience. “That doesn’t justify my behavior at all.”

“We just gotta be nice to each other, man,” he continued. “It’s hard. I guess the thing that was most painful for me, is I took my heart and made it hard for other people. I understood the idea when they say hurt people hurt people.”

The “Men in Black” star also discussed his childhood, saying he was brought back to being “the little boy that watched his father beat up his mother, all of that bubbled up in that moment. That’s not who I want to be.”

Smith also recalled how it felt to watch the scene with his young nephew. 

“He’s the sweetest little boy. He stayed up late to see his Uncle Will. We are sitting in the kitchen, he’s on my lap holding the Oscar, [and he asked] ‘why did you hit that man, Uncle Will?’” he recalled.

“Why you trying to Oprah me?” the actor remembered thinking. “I was like, it was a mess. I don’t want to go too far into it to give people more to misunderstand.”

While Noah attempted to stick up for Smith by saying “everybody can make a mistake,” the actor got emotional and said, “I understand how shocking it was to people.”

Earlier this week, Smith told Variety that he understands if people don’t want to see his new movie, “Emancipation,” but hopes it won’t affect the rest of the cast and crew. 

“I completely understand that, if someone is not ready, I would absolutely respect that and allow them their space to not be ready,” Smith said. “My deepest concern is my team – [director Antoine Fuqua] has done what I think is the greatest work of his entire career.”

“I’m hoping that the material – the power of the film, the timeliness of the story – I’m hoping that the good that can be done would open people’s hearts at a minimum to see and recognize and support the incredible artists in and around this film,” he continued.

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