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Why is Chris Rock refusing to talk to Will Smith after Oscar ‘slap’ apology?

The former Fresh Prince published a video in which he apologizes to the comedian for what happened at the Academy Awards.

Why is Chris Rock refusing to talk to Will Smith after Oscar ‘slap’ apology?

The 94th edition of the Oscars will always be remembered as the one where Will Smith slapped presenter Chris Rock in the face during the ceremony as a result of a joke the comedian made targeting the alopecia of Jada Pinkett, Smith’s wife. Those in attendance and the watching world gasped and the fallout began.

Will Smith’s apology to Chris Rock

Months have since passed and the 53-year-old has now spoken about the ‘confrontation’ reiterating what he said in an earlier published statement, that his behavior was “unacceptable”. In addition, Smith has conveyed his apologies once again for what happened and is willing to meet with Rock in an attempt to patch things up, and specifically addressed why he didn’t apologize directly to his victim in the acceptance speech that fateful.

That moment | Chris Rock and Will Smith
Full screen
That moment | Chris Rock and Will SmithBRIAN SNYDERREUTERS

“I was fogged out by that point. It is all fuzzy. I’ve reached out to Chris and the message that came back is that, he’s not ready to talk. When he is, he will reach out. I will say to you, Chris, I apologize to you. My behavior was unacceptable and I am here whenever you are ready to talk. I want to apologize to Chris’s mother. I saw an interview [she] did, and that was one of the things I just didn’t realize.

“I wasn’t thinking, but how many people got hurt in that moment. I want to apologize to Chris’ mother, I want to apologize to Chris’s family, specifically Tony Rock. We had a great relationship. Tony Rock was my man. This is probably irreparable. I spent the last three months replaying and understanding the nuance and complexity of what happened in that moment. 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 in that moment. No part of me that thinks that is the optimal way to handle a feeling of disrespect or insult.”

Asked whether his wife had encouraged him to confront Rock on stage, he was clear.

No. I made a choice on my own, from my own experience, and my history with Chris. Jada had nothing to do with it. I’m sorry, babe, and I want to say sorry to my kids and my family for the heat that I brought on all of us.”

He also made another apology, to other actors whose moment was “tarnished”.

“To all my fellow nominees, this is a community. 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 – it happened on Questlove’s award – and I am sorry isn’t really sufficient.”

Clarifying his devotion and commitment to making things right, Smith concluded.

“Two things. One, disappointing people is my central trauma. I hate when I let people down, so it hurts me psychologically and emotionally that I didn’t live up to peoples’ image and impression of me. The work I am trying to do is, I am deeply remorseful and I’m trying to be remorseful without being ashamed of myself.

“I’m human and I made a mistake and I’m trying not to think of myself as a piece of shit 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. If you hang on, I promise we will be able to be friends again.”