A month ago, Will Smith posted a 5-minute+ video on YouTube apologizing to Chris Rock, Rock's family, Smith's family, and Smith's friends & supporters for slapping Rock on stage during this year's live Oscars broadcast on ABC over a joke Rock made about Smith's wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. We're guessing you might have heard about it? Over the weekend, during a set in at Arizona Financial Theatre in downtown Phoenix, Rock shared a few more details about what went down with the audience, including how he was invited to host the 2023 Academy Awards broadcast (he declined) as well as a Super Bowl commercial (which he strongly refused).
With regards to hosting the Oscars broadcast, Rock compared it to a return to the scene of a crime, referencing the infamous O.J. Simpson murder trial when he remarked that it would be live asking murder victim Nicole Brown Simpson "to go back to the restaurant." When as by an audience member to "talk about it," Rock did say that the hit from Smith (who portrayed famous boxer Muhammad Ali in a film) hurt, with their size difference being a big factor. "He's bigger than me," Rock commented. "The state of Nevada would not sanction a fight between me and Will Smith." The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences has yet to confirm Rock's claim of being invited to host, and the actor/comedian didn't reveal which company approached him about the Super Bowl commercial (reporting from AZ Central).
"I spent the last three months replaying and understanding the nuances and the complexities of what happened at that moment. And I'm not going to try to unpack all of that right now. But I can say to all of you, there is no part of me that thinks that was the right way to behave at that moment," Smith explains at one point in the video he released at the end of July looking to address some of the questions that were out there about the incident. "There's no part of me that thinks that's the optimal way to handle a feeling of disrespect or insults." Here's a look at some highlights, followed by a look at Smith full video:
"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. 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."
"I want to apologize to Chris's mother. I saw an interview that Chris's mother did, and, you know, that was one of the things about that moment I just didn't realize, and, you know, I wasn't thinking, but how many people got hurt at that moment. So I want to apologize to Chris's mother. I want to apologize to Chris's family. Specifically Tony Rock. You know, we had a great relationship. You know, Tony Rock was my man. And this is probably irreparable."
"I spent the last three months replaying and understanding the nuances and the complexities of what happened at that moment. And I'm not going to try to unpack all of that right now. But I can say to all of you, there is no part of me that thinks that was the right way to behave at that moment. There's no part of me that thinks that's the optimal way to handle a feeling of disrespect or insults."
"I wanna say sorry to my kids and my family for the heat that I brought on all of us. To all my fellow nominees, you know, this is a community. It's like I won because you voted for me. And it really breaks my heart to have stolen and tarnished your moment. I can still see Questlove's eyes. You know, it happened on Questlove's award. And, you know, it's like, I'm sorry really isn't sufficient."
"So there's two things. One, disappointing people is my central trauma. 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. Right? I'm human. And I made a mistake, and I'm trying not to think of myself as a piece of s***."
"So I would say to those people, I know it was confusing, I know it was shocking. But I promise you, I am deeply devoted and committed to putting light and love and joy into the world. And, you know, if you hang on, I promise we'll be able to be friends again."
Now here's a look at Smith's full video message, as well as his answers to a number of questions that have been asked surrounding the incident: