Entertainment Celebrity Will Smith publicly apologises to Chris Rock over Oscars slap
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Will Smith publicly apologises to Chris Rock over Oscars slap

Academy launches investigation into the slap that almost stopped a show

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Will Smith has publicly apologised to Chris Rock after slapping him on stage during the 94th Academy Awards.

The Oscar winner posted on instagram a lengthy note that he was “out of line” to physically assault Rock, and that there was “no place for violence in a world of love and kindness”.

“Violence in all of its forms is poisonous and destructive. My behaviour at last night’s Academy Awards was unacceptable and inexcusable,” Smith said in a post on Tuesday.

“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.

“I would like to publicly apologise 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.”

Earlier on Monday, Smith has posted a cryptic response to his on-stage slap of presenter Rock that shocked the world.

The King Richard actor appeared to refer to the violent outburst in a bizarre Instagram post following the 94th Academy Awards drama and his best actor Oscar win.

In a series of videos and photos after the ceremony on Monday, featuring his wife Jada Pinkett-Smith, Smith appeared to make light of the incident as the pair posed in their Oscars attire.

“Me ‘n Jada Pinkett-Smith got all dressed up to choose chaos,” he said.

Smith wrote another comment on his own post three hours later, further seeming to address the slap and the couple’s hometowns, saying, “You can’t invite people from Philly or Baltimore nowhere!!”

Smith sparked international headlines on Monday after he stormed the Oscars stage after Rock joked about Pinkett-Smith, slapping the comedian while millions watched around the world and in Los Angele’s Dolby Theatre.

“Jada, I love ya. G.I. Jane 2, can’t wait to see it,” Rock said in reference to G.I. Jane star Demi Moore, who sported a shaved head in the movie.

After his furious move, Smith returned to his seat, from where he yelled: “Keep my wife’s name out of your f—ing mouth.”

Pinkett Smith revealed her alopecia diagnosis, which causes hair loss, in 2018 on her Facebook series Red Table Talk. In December, she opened up about her struggles with losing her hair on Instagram.

Hours prior to his social media post, Smith overshadowed the 94th Academy Awards again with his speech after he was named best actor, apologising to the Academy for his actions. He did not mention Rock in his victory speech, and compared himself to the man he played in King Richard – the father of tennis superstars Venus and Serena Williams.

“Richard Williams was a fierce defender of his family,” Smith said.

“I look like the crazy father, just like they said about Richard Williams. But love will make you do crazy things.”

Earlier, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which hands out the Oscars, condemned Smith’s slap. It has started a formal review of the incident, that may lead to Smith being suspended or expelled from the Academy, being stripped of his Oscar or being ruled ineligible for future awards.

About 15.36 million people watched the live broadcast on Walt Disney Co’s ABC network in the US, a major jump from last year but the second-lowest audience ever, according to preliminary ratings data.

The figure for the film industry’s highest awards rose 56 per cent from last year’s record-low ratings, ABC said on Monday.

Early estimates for the 2021 show, which was scaled down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, came in at 9.85 million viewers.

TV viewership of many awards ceremonies has dropped in recent years.

Oscars producers tried a new format this year with three hosts and less time allotted to awards for sound mixing and other film craft categories.

By far the most talked-about moment of the night was Smith’s slap across Rock’s face, shortly before he was named best actor.

The US broadcast, which was shown on a short time delay, did not included the profanity. But it was clearly audible in some broadcasts, for example in Japan and Australia.

– with AAP