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Will Smith Recounts "Horrific" Oscar's Night, Reveals Real Reason Why He Slapped Chris Rock

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By Augustine Mbam - - 5 Mins Read
Will Smith on The Daily Show (Comedy Central)

Will Smith is getting ready to make a comeback with the movie Emancipation, which will hit theaters next month. This will be the actor's first project since earlier this year's Oscars slap incident at the Academy Awards. The actor discussed the notorious incident during a recent Trevor Noah's Daily Show appearance.

At the 2022 Oscars ceremony, comedian Chris Rock made a joke about actor Will Smith's wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, and the actor slapped Rock on stage. Will went on to win the Best Actor prize for his role as King Richard that same night, and it was the same night that he received the honor. In a recent interview with Trevor Noah, Smith discussed his life after the slapping incident and the events that led up to it.

Will Smith on 'horrific' Oscars night

Trevor questioned Smith about how the Oscars ceremony was for Will. He also enquired about his life's best and worst experiences.

"As you can imagine, that was a horrible night. There are numerous nuances, complexities, and details to it. But at the end of the day, I just lost it,” Smith said. The actor apologized to Chris Rock and his family in a video he also released in July, so this is not the first time he publicly brought up the incident.

Will Smith says it was 'bottled rage' that led to the slap.

The actor gave the following explanation of his Oscars attack: "It had many different aspects. You know, it was the young child who witnessed his father abusing his mother. At that precise time, everything just came to the surface. Not me; I don't want to be that." 

Will Smith slaps Chris Rock on stage at the 2022 Oscars ceremony

The actor added that he comprehends why his actions caused shock among the public and continued, "I can see why that was upsetting to some people. I left.”

“For a very long time, that rage had been kept inside." The star of Emancipation pleaded for understanding as well, saying that he had learned that "you just never know what somebody is going through." 

However, he clarified that he didn’t justify his behavior and was sorry for disrupting the show. “I guess the thing that was most painful for me is I took my heart and made it hard for other people,” he said. “It’s like I understood the idea where they say hurt people hurt people.”

Smith appeared to regret slapping Rock immediately. While accepting the Best Actor award for his role in King Richard later that night, Smith apologized to the Academy and his fellow nominees.

Smith seemed to regret hitting Rock right away. Later that evening, Smith apologized to the Academy and his fellow nominees before accepting the Best Actor prize for his performance in King Richard.

Smith ultimately withdrew as an Academy member after issuing a second apology for the incident the following day on Instagram. Smith was also denied access to Academy functions for ten years, including the Oscars.

Smith said in a statement after the announcement, "I accept and respect the Academy's decision," according to Deadline.

While Rock has largely kept quiet in the months since getting slapped, Smith's wife, Jada, and daughter Willow Smith have made references to and direct comments about the incident. However, he made a passing allusion to the controversy in a Boston stand-up performance on March 30. 

According to Variety, Rock said during the show, “I’m still processing what happened. So, at some point, I’ll talk about that sh*t. And it will be serious and funny.”

The actor also talked about a heartbreaking incident that occurred when his nephew, who is nine, questioned him about the slap he gave Chris rock.

Will Smith talks about the Oscars incident ahead of the Emancipation release.

Will Smith is gearing up for his big 2022 release after kicking off the year on a controversial note with the Oscars slap incident. The Oscar winner for Best Actor stunned audiences when he slapped presenter Chris Rock on stage during the Oscars ceremony over a joke made by the latter about his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith.

While it was reported that Emancipation would be delayed due to the Oscars scandal, the film is now set to be released soon, and Smith has begun a press tour to promote it. The actor does not appear to be avoiding the Oscars controversy and recently spoke about it and the impact it will have on the film's reception.

Will Smith on the reaction of the audience to Emancipation

As reported by Variety, when Smith was asked what he wanted to say to the audience who weren't yet ready for his comeback following the slapping incident. 

The actor said, "I completely understand — if someone is not ready, I would absolutely respect that and allow them their space to not be ready. My deepest concern is my team – Antoine has done what I think is the greatest work of his entire career. The people on this team have done some of the best work of their entire careers, and my deepest hope is that my actions don’t penalize my team. At this point, that’s what I’m working for."

Everything about Will Smith's film Emancipation

Emancipation Movie (Apple)

For those who are unaware, Smith will play the lead role of Peter, a runaway slave who became known to the world as "Whipped Peter" after pictures of the keloid scarring on his back were circulated to demonstrate the brutality of slavery.

The upcoming film, directed by Antoine Fuqua, is based on a true story. As Peter goes through Louisiana's swamps to escape the plantation owners who almost killed him, the movie follows him. In addition to a theatrical release, the movie will also be released on streaming services. On December 9, Emancipation will make its Apple+ debut, and on December 2, it will hit theaters.

Will Smith last addressed the Oscars incident in July after sharing a video apology in which he expressed his sincere regret to Chris Rock and his family.