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Will Smith publicly apologizes for slapping Chris Rock at Oscars

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Will Smith publicly apologizes for slapping Chris Rock at Oscars
Will Smith holds his Oscar for Best Actor as he arrives for the Vanity Fair Oscar Party on Sunday at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills, Calif. Photo by Chris Chew/UPI | License Photo

March 28 (UPI) -- Will Smith publicly apologized to Chris Rock after their onstage altercation Sunday night at the 2022 Oscars.

Smith took to Instagram on Monday to share a lengthy statement in which he expressed remorse for slapping Rock after the comedian made a joke about Smith's wife, Jada Pinkett Smith.

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Though Will Smith, who accepted his first Oscar for Best Actor on Sunday night, apologized to the Academy during his acceptance speech, he didn't directly offer an apology to Rock.

"Violence in all of its forms is poisonous and destructive. My behavior at last night's Academy Awards was unacceptable and inexcusable," Smith said Monday. "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.

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"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."

Smith also apologized again to the Academy, as well as the Williams family and the cast and crew of King Richard.

"I would also like to apologize to the Academy, the producers of the show, all the attendees and everyone watching around the world," he said. "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."

The incident took place when Rock took the stage to present at the 94th annual Academy Awards. While presenting, Rock quipped, "Jada, I love ya. G.I. Jane 2, can't wait to see it," referencing her shaved head.

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Moments later, Smith left his seat and confronted Rock onstage, slapping him with an open hand.

Jada Pinkett Smith has been vocal about her struggles with alopecia, an incurable autoimmune disorder that causes bald spots and hair loss. After hitting Rock, Will Smith returned to his seat and yelled, "Keep my wife's name out of your [expletive] mouth."

Rock, who declined to press charges Sunday night, has yet to publicly address the altercation. The Academy condemned Smith's actions and launched an official probe into the incident.

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