While the world may place celebrities on a pedestal, Willow Smith doesn’t hold her famous family to those expectations.
So when her father, Will Smith, slapped Chris Rock at the 2022 Oscars, she didn’t let the resulting media frenzy bring her down, telling Billboard that the scandal didn’t disrupt her creativity or “rock me as much as my own internal demons.”
“I see my whole family as being human, and I love and accept them for all their humanness,” the singer continued. “Because of the position that we’re in, our humanness sometimes isn’t accepted, and we’re expected to act in a way that isn’t conducive to a healthy human life and isn’t conducive to being honest.”
Will shared a similar message in a video posted to social media on July 29, where he addressed fans’ questions about the slap and noted, “I’m human and I made a mistake.”
Will struck Chris Rock onstage at the March award show after the comedian made a joke about the actor’s wife Jada Pinkett Smith’s shaved head while presenting the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature (the actress has publicly spoken about having alopecia).
Celebrities React to Will Smith Slapping Chris Rock at Oscars
After winning the Best Actor Oscar for his lead role in “King Richard” later in the ceremony, Will apologized to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and to his fellow nominees in his acceptance speech. He apologized to Rock the following day in an Instagram post. Will explained in his recent video that he didn’t say sorry during his speech because he was “fogged out by that point” but reiterated he was sorry for striking the comic.
“I’ve reached out to Chris and the message that came back is that he’s not ready to talk and when he is, he will reach out,” the “Men in Black” alum added. “So I will say to you, Chris, I apologize to you. My behavior was unacceptable. And I’m here whenever you’re ready to talk.”
Will, who has since resigned from the Academy and has been banned from its events for the next 10 years, also made it clear “there is no part of me that thinks that’s the optimal way to handle a feeling of disrespect or insults” and that he chose to slap Rock on his own, noting “Jada had nothing to do with it.”
“I’m sorry, babe,” he added. “I wanna say sorry to my kids and to my family for the heat that I brought on all of us.”
After once more apologizing to his fellow nominees, specifically Questlove who won the Oscar Rock presented, Will addressed any fans disappointed by his actions.
“Disappointing people is my central trauma,” the “Pursuit of Happyness” star said. “I hate when I let people down. So it hurts. It hurts me psychologically and emotionally to know I didn’t live up to people’s image and impression of me and the work I’m trying to do is I am deeply remorseful and I’m trying to be remorseful without being ashamed of myself.”
And he promised that he is “deeply devoted and committed to putting light and love and joy into the world.”
For Rock’s part, he’s stayed relatively quiet about the incident, apart from making a few references in his stand-up shows. As for Jada, she has expressed her wish for Chris and Will to make amends.
“My deepest hope is that these two intelligent capable men have an opportunity to heal, talk this out, and reconcile,” she stated on a June episode of Red Table Talk. “With the state of the world today, we need them both–and we all actually need one another more than ever. Until then, Will and I are continuing to do what we have done for the last 28 years, and that’s keep figuring out this thing called life together.”
Will Smith posted to Instagram Friday to apologize to Chris Rock after slapping the comedian while performing during the 2022 Academy Awards, saying he is “deeply remorseful” for his behavior.