Washington, Jul 29 (EFE).- Four months after slapping presenter Chris Rock on stage during the Academy Awards ceremony, Will Smith apologized to the comic in a video posted Friday on YouTube.
“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,” the 53-year-old actor said. “So I will say to you, Chris, I apologize to you. My behavior was unacceptable, and I’m here whenever you’re ready to talk.”
Smith delivered the apology in the course of answering questions about the March 27 incident read aloud by a person off-camera.
The actor struck Rock, 57, after the comedian, on stage to present the Oscar for Best Documentary Film, made a joke about the shaved head of Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, who suffers from a hair-loss condition known as alopecia.
“Jada, I love you, ‘G.I. Jane 2,’ can’t wait to see it,” Rock quipped, referring to Demi Moore’s role as a shaven-headed woman who undergoes training similar to the US Navy Seals in the 1997 Ridley Scott film “G.I. Jane.”
Smith initially laughed, but after seeing that his wife was annoyed he got out of his seat, walked on stage and slapped Rock in the face.
After returning to his seat, Smith loudly shouted to Rock: “Keep my wife’s name out your f___ing mouth.”
Minutes later, Smith went on stage to receive the best actor Oscar for his role as Richard Williams, father of tennis greats Venus and Serena Williams, and gave a minutes-long acceptance speech in which he apologized to the Academy and his fellow nominees for his behavior, but did not mention Rock.
Asked during the video clip about that omission, Smith said, “I was fogged out by that point. It’s all fuzzy.”
He added that he also wanted to apologize to Rock’s family.
“I saw an interview that his mother did. That’s one of the things about that moment I didn’t realize, I wasn’t thinking, but how many people got hurt in that moment,” Smith said.
“So I want to apologize to Chris’s mother. I want to apologize to Chris’s family, specifically Tony Rock (Chris’s brother). We had a great relationship. Tony Rock was my man. This is probably irreparable,” the actor said.
He spoke of the time he spent “replaying and understanding the nuance and complexity of what happened in that moment.”
“I’m not going to try to unpack all of that right now, but I can say to all of you, there is no part of me that thinks that was the right way to behave in that moment. No part of me that thinks that is the optimal way to handle a feeling of disrespect or insult,” Smith said.
The actor was emphatic that his wife had played no part in his decision to slap Rock.
“No. I made a choice on my own, from my own experience, and my history with Chris. 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 said.
The Board of Governors for the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences voted in April to ban Smith for 10 years from all events it organizes, including the annual Oscars ceremony. EFE pem/dr