Will Smith is taking a deeper dive into his slap of Chris Rock at the 2022 Oscars, four months after that now-infamous moment took place.
In a six-minute video posted Friday, titled “It’s been a minute…,” Smith answers some of his fans’ most pressing questions about the Oscars slap, which occurred after Rock made a joke at Jada Pinkett Smith’s expense. (Smith shares in the video, though, that his wife “had nothing to do” with his decision to walk on stage and strike Rock, following speculation that Pinkett Smith had urged her husband to address Rock’s joke.)
“There is no part of me that thinks that was the right way to behave in that moment,” Smith shares to the camera. “There’s no part of me that thinks that’s the optimal way to handle a feeling of disrespect or insults.”
The actor also extends apologies to his own family, Rock’s family, Smith’s fellow nominees for Best Actor and musician Questlove, whose win for Best Documentary Feature took place moments after the slap and was largely overshadowed by the incident. (“I can still see Questlove’s eyes,” Smith recalls. “‘I’m sorry’ really isn’t sufficient.”) And Rock himself receives another apology from Smith — the first came via Instagram one day after the Oscars — while Smith admits that he didn’t apologize to Rock during his Best Actor acceptance speech because he was “fogged out by that point. It’s all fuzzy.”
“Disappointing people is my central trauma. I hate when I let people down,” Smith adds, when asked what he would say to those who looked up to him before the slap. “It hurts me psychologically and emotionally to know I didn’t live up to people’s image and impression of me… I am deeply remorseful, and I’m trying to be remorseful without being ashamed of myself. I’m human. I made a mistake. I’m trying not to think of myself as a piece of s—t.
“I know it was confusing. I know it was shocking,” he continues. “But I promise you, I am deeply devoted and committed to putting light and love and joy into the world. If you hang on, I promise we’ll be able to be friends again.”
Days after the Oscars, Smith announced his resignation from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Its Board of Governors later banned Smith from all Academy events, including the annual presentation of the Oscars, for 10 years.
“This action we are taking today in response to Will Smith’s behavior is a step toward a larger goal of protecting the safety of our performers and guests, and restoring trust in the Academy,” the Board’s statement read at the time. “We also hope this can begin a time of healing and restoration for all involved and impacted.”
Watch Smith’s full apology video above.