Will Smith apologizes to Chris Rock as Academy Awards promises "consequences"

Los Angeles, California - Will Smith apologized to Chris Rock on Monday after slapping the comedian during a dispute at the Academy Awards.

Will Smith leaving the stage at Sunday's Oscars, where he slapped comedian Chris Rock.
Will Smith leaving the stage at Sunday's Oscars, where he slapped comedian Chris Rock.  © IMAGO / ZUMA Press

Smith wrote in an Instagram post that his behavior was "unacceptable and inexcusable" after he walked onto the stage at Sunday’s Oscars and smacked Rock, who had made a joke about the actor’s wife, Jada Pinkett-Smith, who has been dealing with alopecia, a condition that causes hair loss.

"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," Smith wrote in an Instagram post.

"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."

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Smith (53) won best actor at Sunday’s ceremony at Dolby Theater in Hollywood for his portrayal of Venus and Serena Williams’ father in the tennis biopic King Richard.

He apologized to the Academy of Motion Arts and Sciences and to his fellow nominees during his acceptance speech Sunday, but didn’t mention Rock at the time.

Academy starts "formal investigation"

Will Smith and his wife, Jada Pinkett-Smith, at the Academy Awards.
Will Smith and his wife, Jada Pinkett-Smith, at the Academy Awards.  © IMAGO / ZUMA Press

The shocking episode started with Rock joking he was looking forward to seeing Pinkett-Smith in G.I. Jane 2, referring to the 1997 movie G.I. Jane in which Demi Moore’s character has a shaved head.

After slapping Rock, Smith yelled at the comedian, "Keep my wife’s name out your f***ing mouth."

He wrote in Monday’s apology that violence in all forms is "poisonous and destructive."

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"I would also like to apologize to the Academy, the producers of the show, all the attendees and everyone watching around the world," Smith wrote. "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."

The Academy on Monday said it launched a formal review of the incident.

"The Academy condemns the actions of Mr. Smith at last night’s show," the organization said in a statement. "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."

The Los Angeles Police Department said it is "aware" of the situation but that Rock declined to file a police report.

Cover photo: IMAGO / ZUMA Press

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