Actor Will Smith has publicly apologized to Chris Rock for storming onstage and slapping him on the face over a joke the comedian made about his wife Jada Pinkett Smith during Sunday's (Monday, March 28, PH time) Oscars ceremony.
In a statement posted on Instagram, Will said his behavior at the Academy Awards was "unacceptable and inexcusable", as he stressed that "violence in all of its forms is poisonous and destructive."
"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," he said.
While he understands that jokes at his expense are very much part of the job, Will said that hearing a joke about his wife's medical condition "was too much for me to bear and I reacted emotionally."
In their shocking altercation at the Oscars that took the world by storm, a fuming Will strode onstage and suddenly hit Chris across the face after the comedian made a joke about his wife Jada's shaved head.
"Jada, I love you, 'G.I. Jane 2,’ can't wait to see it," joked Chris. The punchline appeared to strike a nerve with Jada, who has been open about her struggle with alopecia, an autoimmune disorder that causes hair to fall out in clumps, causing bald spots.
G.I. Jane is a 1997 movie starring Demi Moore as Lieutenant Jordan O’Neill. Demi’s character, who is training to become the first female Navy Seal, shaves her head in one pivotal scene.
Meanwhile, Will also offered his apologies to the film academy, show producers, attendees, and viewers, as well as the Williams Family and everyone involved in the movie King Richard for which he won his first best actor award.
"I deeply regret that my behavior has stained what has been an otherwise gorgeous journey for all of us," he said.
In the end, the actor said: "I am a work in progress."
The Academy earlier condemned Will's actions and said it has started a formal review around the incident. It also tweeted a short statement minutes after the altercation. It read: "The Academy does not condone violence of any form. Tonight we are delighted to celebrate our 94th Academy Awards winners, who deserve this moment of recognition from their peers and movie lovers around the world."
As for Chris, the comedian has decided not to press charges against Will, according to a statement issued by the Los Angeles Police Department.