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Will Smith Just Cleared Up This Major Misconception About the Oscars Slap

The actor released a five-minute video answering questions about his altercation with Chris Rock.

Will Smith isn't done apologizing for his shocking and unforgettable slap of Chris Rock at the 2022 Oscars in March. And in a new video posted to his Instagram and YouTube pages, the actor answers some questions he's been repeatedly asked about the situation in the months since. This includes clearing up one misconception about the incident that involves his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. It's also the first time he's spoken about the slap at length, aside from a statement he posted after the ceremony.

The video, posted on July 29, begins with text that reads: "It's been a minute… Over the last few months, I've been doing a lot of thinking and personal work… You asked a lot of fair questions that I wanted to take some time to answer." Read on to learn which questions he addressed, how Rock reacted to his personal apology, and what the public got wrong about the altercation.

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Smith slapped Rock for making a joke about Pinkett Smith.

Will Smith slapping Chris Rock on stage at the 2022 Oscars
Myung Chun / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

At the Oscars, Rock was about the announce the nominees for Best Documentary Feature. Leading into the reading of the nominations, he made a joke about Pinkett Smith's bald head, saying it looked like she was about to film G.I. Jane 2.

Pinkett Smith has been diagnosed with alopecia and has been open about the hair loss she experienced because of it. For this reason, the joke did not go over well with the couple, and Smith soon took to the stage where he slapped Rock and then yelled, "Keep my wife's name out your [expletive] mouth!"

Pinkett Smith wasn't happy with the joke.

Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith on the red carpet of the 2022 Oscars
Kevin Mazur/WireImage via Getty Images

At the Oscars, Smith's first reaction was to laugh at the joke, but Pinkett Smith rolled her eyes, appearing annoyed at the jab. This led some to believe that Pinkett Smith wanted Smith to do something in retalitation, or even urged him to. Video from another angle of the Oscars audience that circulated online shows Pinkett Smith leaning forward immediately after Smith slapped Rock, which some thought indicated that she found Smith's reaction humorous.

Smith denies that Pinkett Smith asked him to do anything in her defense.

In his new video, Smith answers the question, "After Jada rolled her eyes, did she tell you to do something?"

"No," he says. "It's like, you know, I made a choice on my own, from my own experiences, from the my history with Chris. Jada had nothing to do with it. I'm sorry, babe."

He adds, "I want to say sorry to my kids and my family for the heat that I brought on all of us. To all my fellow nominees. This is a community. It's like, 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. You know, it's like, 'I'm sorry' really isn't sufficient."

Musician and director Questlove won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature for Summer of Soul and had to take to the stage for his acceptance speech soon after the slap.

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Pinkett Smith spoke out herself.

Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith at the 2022 Critics Choice Awards
Tinseltown / Shutterstock

During an episode of her talk show Red Table Talk focused on alopecia, Pinkett Smith reflected on the Oscars incident.

"Now about Oscar night, my deepest hope is that these two intelligent, capable men have an opportunity to heal, talk this out and reconcile," she said in the June 1 episode (via Today). "The state of the world today, we need them both, and we all actually need one another more than ever. Until then, Will and I are continuing to do what we have done for the last 28 years, and that's keep figuring out this thing called life together. Thank you for listening."

Smith apologized to Rock in a statement after the awards.

Smith apologized to Rock for the first time on the day after the Oscars.

"My behavior at last night's Academy Awards was unacceptable and inexcusable … I would like to publicly apologize to you, Chris. I was out of line and I was wrong," his Instagram post reads in part. Smith also resigned from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and has been banned from its events for 10 years.

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He shared Rock's reaction to his personal apology.

Chris Rock and Will Smith at the premiere of "Hustle & Flow" in 2005
Lee Celano/WireImage via Getty Images

Smith once again apologizes to Rock and to his family members in his new video.

"I've reached out to Chris, and the message that came back is that he's not ready to talk. And when he is, he will reach out. So, I will say to you, Chris, I apologize to you. My behavior was unacceptable, and I'm here whenever you're ready to talk," Smith says.

He also apologizes to the comedian's family, who were also shocked and embarrassed by the situation. "I saw an interview that Chris' mother did and, you know, that was one of the things about that moment, I just didn't realize, and you know, I wasn't thinking about how many people got hurt in that moment. So I want to apologize to Chris' mother. I want to apologize to Chris' family," Smith says. He adds of Rock's brother, Tony Rock, "You know, we had a great relationship. You know, Tony Rock was my man. And this is probably irreparable."

As for Rock, he has not given an official statement on the situation, but he has joked about it during his standup comedy sets. A source also told Entertainment Tonight in June that Rock is "not concerned with the Smiths at the moment. He's touring and he's preparing for a comedy special."

Lia Beck
Lia Beck is a writer living in Richmond, Virginia. In addition to Best Life, she has written for Refinery29, Bustle, Hello Giggles, InStyle, and more. Read more
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