Actor Will Smith apologized Monday to Chris Rock and everyone who witnessed his assault of the comedian at the Oscars on Sunday night.
“Violence in all of its forms is poisonous and destructive. My behavior at last night’s Academy Awards was unacceptable and inexcusable. 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,” he wrote in an Instagram statement.
“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 apologized to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the producers of the awards show, all the Oscars attendees and everyone watching around the world. He also said he was sorry to the Williams family. He had won the lead actor award for portraying Richard Williams in “King Richard,” about the father of tennis greats Venus and Serena Williams.
“I deeply regret that my behavior has stained what has been an otherwise gorgeous journey for all of us,” he wrote.
Smith shocked viewers around the world on Sunday night when he walked onto the Oscars stage, hit Rock across the face and then shouted, “Keep my wife’s name out of your fucking mouth.” Rock had made a joke about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, having a shaved head. She had shaved off her hair last year after speaking publicly about her struggles with alopecia.
In his emotional acceptance speech for his lead actor award, Smith cried and apologized to the academy and his fellow nominees but not to Rock. He talked about how Richard Williams was “a fierce defender of his family” and said that sometimes “art imitates life” and “love will make you do crazy things.”
Police said Rock declined to press charges. However, the academy said Monday that it condemned the violence and would launch a review of the incident.
“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,” it said.
Whoopi Goldberg, who serves on the academy’s board of governors, said Monday on “The View”: “We’re not going to take that Oscar from him. There will be consequences, I’m sure.”