Oscar-winning actor Will Smith made headlines yesterday when he publicly slapped comedian Chris Rock on stage after the latter made a degrading joke about his wife Jada Smith’s bald head. The comedian called Jada “G.I Jane”, after which Will Smith was seen walking up on stage and slapping the comedian while he was in the middle of his speech. Afterward, from the crowd, the actor shouted twice “keep my wife’s name out of your f—-ing mouth!”
Today the actor issued an apology for his misbehavior on Instagram, both to Chris Rock and to the Academy and explained that his emotional reaction was due to watching his wife being visibly hurt after a joke about her medical condition was made. Will Smith further promised that he would work on improving his behavior and said he was a “work in progress”.
Here is the actor’s full statement below:
“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 a 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.
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Although some celebrities like comedian Judd Apatow had criticized Will Smith for showing such aggressive behavior at the awards, fans on social media have sided with the Oscar winner and said pointed out that Chris Rock deserved to be called out for making sexist jokes about his wife, especially about her disability which she has been outspoken about.
Jada Smith has spoken up previously about her alopecia and how it had shattered her self-esteem. In one of the episodes of her show “The Red Table”, the actress can be seen sitting with her young daughter Willow and her grandmother where she revealed that her growing hair loss became a huge insecurity for her:
“Even in my terror and even in my fear and in the moment of just going, ‘Oh, my God, like, why are you so terrified that you might lose your hair?’ I really had to put it in a spiritual perspective of, like, the higher power takes so much from people. People are out here who have cancer, people who have sick children. I watch the higher power take things every day..And, by golly, if the higher power wants to take your hair, that’s hair? When I looked at it from that perspective, it really did settle me.”