A screenshot of Will Smith from his Oscars slap apology video

Will Smith is finally answering questions about the infamous Oscars “slap heard ‘round the world” in a new YouTube video uploaded to his personal channel on July 29. In a video titled “It’s been a minute…” the Academy Award winner shows immense remorse for the incident that has all but halted his Hollywood career.

During the 2022 Academy Awards ceremony in March, Smith slapped presenter Chris Rock on stage after Rock made a crude joke about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. The actor apologized to Rock via Instagram immediately following The Slap, and according to Smith, he’s reached out to the comedian in the months since, but Rock has expressed not being ready to talk to him yet. (That hasn’t stopped Rock from using the incident as fodder for his new material.) In the new video, Smith addresses Rock directly, apologizing for his actions and offering a space to speak whenever Rock is ready.

“So I will say to you, Chris, I apologize to you,” said Smith. “My behavior was unacceptable and I’m here whenever you’re ready to talk.”

Smith also apologized to Rock’s mother and brother, Tony Rock, acknowledging that he didn’t realize how many people were hurt in that moment. He also answers the question that some have been pondering since the altercation: Did Jada Pinkett Smith say anything to her husband after she rolled her eyes at Rock’s “G.I. Jane” joke? The answer was a clear “no” from Smith:

“I made a choice on my own from my own experiences, my history with Chris, and Jada had nothing to do with it,” said Smith. 

He apologized to Jada and his kids for the “heat” that The Slap brought upon them, as well as his fellow Oscar nominees, for tarnishing what should’ve been a special moment. He also took a moment to apologize to his fans and the people he let down through his “unacceptable” actions.

“Disappointing people is my central trauma,” said Smith. “I hate when I let people down, so it hurts me psychologically and emotionally to know I didn’t live up to peoples’ image and impression of me.”

Smith explained that his silence from social media was due to him taking time to reflect on his actions. Since The Slap, Smith has endured the brunt of the fallout, and his Hollywood image as an affable titan has taken a significant hit.

“I promise you that I am deeply devoted and committed to putting light and love and joy into the world,” said Smith. “If you hang on, I promise we’ll be able to be friends again.”

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