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Is Will Smith back on social media for the first time after slapping Chris Rock at the Academy Awards?

Will Smith has kept a low profile since his on-stage scuffle with Chris Rock at the Oscars back in March.

FILE PHOTO: Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith pose on the red carpet during the Oscars arrivals at the 94th Academy Awards in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, U.S., March 27, 2022. REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photo

Will Smith’s presence on social media has been almost non-existent in recent months. The 53-year-old Hollywood star’s life changed completely on 28 March when he attended the 2022 Academy Awards to pick up the Oscar for his role as Richard Williams, the father of tennis stars Serena and Venus, in the 2021 film King Richard. But just half an hour earlier, Smith had been at the centre of an incident that would dominate the headlines for the rest of the week. Ceremony host Chris Rock made an off-hand remark about Smith’s wife Jada Pinkett Smith which The Fresh Prince didn’t think was very funny. He sprang up out of his seat, strode onto the stage and slapped Rock in the face - a shocking display of violence, unprecedented at the Oscars, that was broadcast live worldwide.

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Smith later offered an apology but there was a personal cost for his outburst as lucrative work contracts were cancelled with Netflix and Sony being the first companies to distance themselves from the actor.

His popularity on social media also suffered. Prior to the incident at the Oscars, Smith had just under 60 million followers on Instagram, but that figure dropped dramatically in the following months with almost 250,000 followers deciding to unfollow the star.

Will Smith’s Instagram figures

However, he has since made up for that, attracting even more followers to a point where he now has 63.8 million Instagram followers - more than he had at the start of the year. Before the confrontation with Chris Rock, Smith had social media accounts with Instagram and Facebook but he has never been signed up with Twitter. He had been frequently posting with updates but his participation online has been minimal since the Academy Awards event. He posted an apology on both of his social media accounts on 29 March but after that, there was nothing. That is, up until the end of July…

Trying to get back...

It seems that Smith is tentatively creeping back onto social media, with three posts over the summer. The first was a video in which he answered questions relating to the incident such as why he didn’t apologise to Chris Rock during his acceptance speech. And this week there were two videos uploaded onto Instagram - the first, a short video showing a baby gorilla cheekily poking an adult gorilla before it is chased away. He captioned it, “Me trying to get back on social (sic)”. To date, it has received over 1.6 million views and 51,000 likes. He followed that up with another video today, in which he and a friend were stunned to find a tarantula crawling along the floor of their room at the Holiday Inn. Startled, Smith jumped to safety on top of a chair and can be heard urging his pal to trap the spider under a glass. “That’s one big-assed spider,” he exclaimed, once the beast had been captured, “We’re selling the house…”

Is Will Smith ready to re-engage with his public on social media? It seems so.


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