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Will Smith Says He Is ‘Deeply Remorseful’ Over Chris Rock Slap


4 months after slapping the comedian Chris Rock on the Oscars, shocking audiences and prompting a decade-long ban from attending the ceremony, Will Smith posted a video on Friday expressing regret over the incident and promising that he was doing “personal work” to handle his behavior.

“It hurts me psychologically and emotionally to know I didn’t live as much as people’s image and impression of me,” Mr. Smith said within the video. “I’m deeply remorseful, and I’m attempting to be remorseful without being ashamed of myself, right? I’m human, and I made a mistake.”

Mr. Smith, who resigned from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences days after the ceremony, apologized to many people throughout the nearly six-minute video — starting with Mr. Rock, who had made a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith’s shaved head shortly before Mr. Smith walked up and slapped him on live television. (Ms. Pinkett Smith has been open about her struggles with alopecia, a condition that results in hair loss, and in an announcement shortly after the incident, Mr. Smith said a joke about his wife’s medical condition was “an excessive amount of for me to bear.”)

“Chris, I apologize to you,” Mr. Smith said within the video. “My behavior was unacceptable, and I’m here each time you’re able to talk.”

Shortly after the attack, Mr. Smith won the Oscar for best actor. Within the video, he explained that he had didn’t apologize to Mr. Rock during his speech because he was “fogged out” following the incident.

Mr. Smith said he had tried to contact Mr. Rock in a while but had received a message in response that the comedian was not able to talk and would reach out when he was. Mr. Smith apologized to Mr. Rock’s family, including his mother, Rosalie Rock, who gave a television interview saying, “While you hurt my child, you hurt me.”

He also apologized to his family “for the warmth that I brought on all of us,” in addition to the opposite nominees that night for having tarnished their moment.

Ms. Pinkett Smith has said little about her own experience of that night, but last month she centered an episode of her online talk show, Red Table Talk, on alopecia, interviewing a girl whose 12-year-old daughter died by suicide because of this of bullying over the condition.

Regarding the slap, Ms. Pinkett Smith said: “My deepest hope is that these two intelligent, capable men have a possibility to heal, talk this out and reconcile.”

Mr. Rock has not publicly discussed his response to the attack in depth, but earlier this week, at a comedy show in Brooklyn, Mr. Rock mentioned it in a joke. During a portion of his set that was focused on victimhood, he told the group that after Mr. Smith slapped him, he shook it off and “went to work the following day,” prompting sustained applause from the audience. A representative for Mr. Rock didn’t immediately reply to a request for comment.

In Friday’s video, Mr. Smith gave the impression to be working to repair his status and reassure fans that his behavior on the ceremony didn’t reflect who he truly is, saying, “There is no such thing as a a part of me that thinks that was the correct technique to behave in that moment.”

“I realize it was shocking, but I promise you, I’m deeply devoted and committed to putting light and love and joy into the world,” he concluded. “Should you hang on, I promise we’ll give you the chance to be friends again.”

Melena Ryzik and Jason Zinoman contributed reporting.

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