If you’ve been scrolling through memes since yesterday (28 March), you’ve probably come across the photograph of Will Smith slapping fellow actor Chris Rock at the Oscars.
And for the uninitiated, if you thought that Will Smith’s actions got him kicked out for the rest of the ceremony, nope. In fact, he won his first Oscar that night, winning the best actor award for his work in King Richard.
FYI, if you haven’t been keeping up, a TL;DR version of why Smith ended up slapping Rock was due to the fact that the latter made a joke about Jada Pinkett-Smith, Will’s wife. The 57-year-old comedian had made a joke about Pinkett-Smith’s alopecia, an autoimmune condition that causes one to lose their hair.
After the first-ever violent act seen during the Oscars, many were divided as to whether to support Smith or Rock. But most people came to a similar sentiment: That Rock went overboard, but Smith shouldn’t have reacted with violence, especially in front of such a large audience.
While we continue to debate over who was in the right and who was in the wrong, Smith has broken the silence by offering an apology to Rock through social media.
Just earlier today (29 March), Smith posted the following on his Instagram account:
View this post on Instagram
In the post, he explained that “a joke about Jada’s medical condition was too much for [him] to bear and [he] reacted emotionally”.
However, he also acknowledged that “violence in all of its forms is poisonous and destructive”, and that his behaviour was “unacceptable and inexcusable”.
He then moved on to the actual apology, and 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 place for violence in a world of love and kindness.”
He also offered his apologies to “the Academy, the producers of the show, all the attendees and everyone watching around the world”.
After that, Smith concluded his post by saying, “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.”
Smith turned off both the comments and like tally for the Instagram post, but the post prior to that garnered over 426,000 comments, much higher than his average comment count.
Response from the Academy
The Academy of Motion Picture Art and Sciences has also responded to the now-viral moment in the Oscars, and mentioned that it is conducting a “formal review” regarding what happened.
In a statement to AFP, The Academy mentioned, “The Academy condemns the actions of Mr. Smith at last night’s show.”
“We have officially started a formal review around the incident and will explore further action and consequences in accordance with our Bylaws, Standards of Conduct and California law.”
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Featured Image: Instagram (@willsmith)
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