"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," wrote the actor.
After slapping Chris Rock before the audience and millions of viewers at the 94th Academy Awards, Will Smith has now issued a public apology to the comedian for the assault.
On March 28, 2022, a day after the incident, Smith, 53, wrote a lengthy statement on Instagram, admitting he was wrong for striking Rock, 57, onstage at the 2022 Academy Awards, according to PEOPLE.
"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," Smith began.
"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," he continued, which was the first time the Oscar winner directly apologized to Rock. "There is no place for violence in a world of love and kindness."
"I would also like to apologize to the Academy, the producers of the show, all the attendees, and everyone watching around the world. I would like to apologize to the Williams Family and my King Richard Family," the actor continued. "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 incident occurred after the comedian made a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith's hair, saying in part, "Jada, I love ya. G.I. Jane 2, can't wait to see ya." The comment was about Pinkett Smith's hair matching Demi Moore's shaved head in the movie G.I. Jane.
While Smith initially laughed at the joke, Pinkett Smith looked visibly unamused. Seconds later, the cameras pan to Smith walking to the stage, and approaching Rock, only to smack him in the face. Back at his table, Smith shouted to a stunned Rock, "Keep my wife's name out of your f---ing mouth," then remained seated with Pinkett Smith at his table for the rest of the night.
VIA JAPANESE TELEVISION: The uncensored exchange between Will Smith and Chris Rock pic.twitter.com/j0Z184ZyXa— Timothy Burke (@bubbaprog) March 28, 2022
Moments later, when Smith won Best Actor later in the ceremony, he apologized to the Academy and his fellow nominees but did not mention Rock. In his tearful speech, he spoke about acting out of love and protection, saying, "Love makes you do crazy things."
While Rock has not spoken about the incident yet, he refused to press charges against Smith.
Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Photo by Neilson Barnard