NEW YORK (AP) – Will Smith has again apologized to Chris Rock for hitting him during the Oscar broadcast in a new video, saying his behavior was “unacceptable” and that he had contacted the comedian to discuss the incident, but was told Rock wasn’t ready yet.
“There’s not a single part of me that thinks this was the right way to behave at the time,” Smith said in the under-six-minute video posted online Friday. “I deeply repent and I try to repent without being ashamed of myself.” He told Rock, “I’ll be here when you’re ready to talk.”
Sitting in a polo shirt and white ball cap, Smith spoke directly to a camera and answered preselected questions about: his behavior at the Academy Awards on March 27, when he punched host Rock after the comedian made a reference to the haircut of Jada Pinkett Smith, Smith’s wife.
Smith also apologized to Rock’s family and especially his mother, Rosalie, who was shocked to see her son hurt, telling US Weekly, “When he hit Chris, he hit us all. He really hit me.” Smith also apologized to Tony Rock, Chris’ younger brother.
“I didn’t realize how many people were injured at the time,” Smith said.
Smith also apologized to his family “for the heat I’ve caused us all” and his fellow Oscar nominees for “stealing and tarnishing your moment.” He called Questlove by name; it was the musician-director’s documentary win for “Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)” that was interrupted by the blow. Rock was on stage to present the documentary award.
Smith also said his wife did nothing to encourage his blow. “Jada had nothing to do with it,” he said. “I made a choice myself.” Pinkett Smith has said she has alopecia areata, a hair loss disorder.
Following the altercation, the film academy banned Smith from attending the Oscars or any other academy event for 10 years. Smith apologized to Rock in a statement after the Oscars, saying he was “out of line and I was wrong”.
“I’m really not sorry enough,” Smith said in the video, adding that he’s in pain for not living up to fan impressions. “Disappointing people is my central trauma.”
Many had speculated that Smith would appear on camera to discuss the hit first in Pinkett Smith’s online series “Red Table Talk,” but he chose to do it in a social media video post with no follow-up or surprise questions.
Mark Kennedy is on http://twitter.com/KennedyTwits