It has been almost 24 hours since Oscar-winning actor Will Smith slapped Chris Rock on the Dolby Theatre stage during the 94th Academy Awards in Los Angeles, and the actor has finally released an apology.
Smith shared the apology on his Instagram, writing the following:
“Violence in all of its forms is poisonous and destructive. My behavior at last night’s Academy Awards was unacceptable and inexcusable. Jokes at my expense are part of the job, but a joke about Jada’s medical condition was too much for me to bear and I reacted emotionally.
I would like to publicly apologize to you, Chris. I was out of line and I was wrong. I am embarrassed and my actions were not indicative of the man I want to be. There is no place for violence in a world of love and kindness. I would also like to apologize to the Academy, the producers of the show, all the attendees and everyone watching around the world.
I would like to apologize to the Williams Family and my King Richard Family. I deeply regret that my behavior has stained what has been an otherwise gorgeous journey for all of us. I am a work in progress.”
The entire incident began when Chris Rock took the stage to present the nominees and winner of the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. During a laugh-filled lead-up to the nominees, the comedian made a joke about Will Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, who is suffering from alopecia. Rock likened her appearance to Demi Moore in a 90s military action drama G.I. Jane and joked that she was starring in a sequel. Cameras showed Pinkett Smith was made uncomfortable by that remark, and it caused Smith to walk right up to Rock and deliver a smack across the face along with a few f-bombs.
Read More: Video: Will Smith Assaults Chris Rock at the 94th Oscars
The Fresh Prince appeared to be brought back in line by several actors after the fact, such as Bradley Cooper, Tyler Perry, and Denzel Washington. When he ended up winning an Oscar for Best Actor in a Leading Role later that night for playing Serena Williams’ Dad, Richard Williams, in the biopic King Richard, he squandered the chance to make an apology then and even appeared to double down on his actions. He likened himself to Richard Williams, who defended his family ferociously and said that love could make a person do crazy things.
Read More: ‘Love Will Make You Do Crazy Things’: Will Smith Defends Himself for Hitting Chris Rock at the Oscars
Now, after the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced a formal review of Sunday night’s events would be conducted, it appears the former Disney star–known for his role as the Genie in the live-action Aladdin remake–has had a change of heart.