“I’m sorry really isn’t sufficient.” — Will Smith
For the first time since his now infamous on-stage slap of Chris Rock, Will Smith sat down for a video interview, in which he answered some of the most burning questions about the incident.
“It’s been a minute over the last few months. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and personal work,” the video, which was shared on Instagram, began. “You asked a lot of fair questions that I wanted to take some time to answer.”
The first question: “Why didn’t you apologize to Chris in your acceptance speech?”
“I really fogged out by that point,” he began. “It’s all fuzzy.” He continued, “I reached out to Chris, and the message that came back is that he’s not ready to talk and that when he is, he’ll reach out.”
Will then directly spoke to Chris, saying he apologizes and that his behavior was unacceptable. “I’m here when you’re ready to talk,” he stated.
The 53-year-old actor went on to apologize to Chris’ family, specifically Chris’ mother and brother Tony Rock, who Will said he had a great relationship with prior to his mistake. “This is probably irreparable,” he noted.
“I spent the last three months replaying and understanding the nuances and complexities of what happened in that moment […] but I can say to all of you there’s no part of me that thinks that that was the right way to behave in that moment,” Will said. “There’s no part of me that thinks that’s the right way to handle the feeling of disrespect or insults.”
“After [your wife] Jada [Pinkett Smith] rolled her eyes, did she tell you to do something?” was the next question.
“No, I made a choice on my own from my own experiences from my history with Chris. Jada had nothing to do with it,” Will said. He then apologized to her as well as their children, saying he did not want to bring heat on all of them.
Will’s final apology went to his fellow nominees and specifically Questlove, who was supposed to be receiving the award at that moment. “It really breaks my har to have stolen and tarnished your moment. I can still see Questlove’s eyes […] I’m sorry, really isn’t sufficient,” he said.
The fourth and final question he addressed was, “what would you say to the people who looked up to you before the slap or people who expressed that you let them down?”
“So there’s two things: one, disappointing people is my central trauma,” he began. “I hate when I let people down, so it hurts me psychologically and emotionally to know that I didn’t live up to people’s image and impression of me.”
Will added, “The work I’m trying to do is, I am deeply remorseful, and I’m trying to be remorseful without being ashamed of myself. I’m human, and I made a mistake, and I’m trying not to think of myself as a piece of sh*t.”
Will concluded the video by saying that he’s committed to bringing light, love, and joy into the world, and “if you hang on, I promise we’ll be able to be friends again.”
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