I am not really a Will Smith fan. I mean, I’ve never disliked him or really liked him, I’ve just been kind of indifferent to him. I think the only movie I watched of his was “Aladdin,” I’ve never caught an episode of “Fresh Prince,” and his music just isn’t my thing. So, my feelings about him now aren’t rooted in fandom. And when that slap happened at the Oscars, I thought he was acting like a henpecked husband, who was scared of his overbearing wife. I honestly think that’s why he slapped Chris Rock because he knew if he didn’t when he got home Jada would emasculate the hell out of him. I definitely don’t like his wife. She comes off as very controlling, and mean, and she’s humiliated him in public with her perverted shenanigans, so I guess part of me feels sorry for Will Smith.
And after watching his new video, where he answers questions about the “slap” online, just himself, in a room, nobody around to interview him, no audience to clap, and make it easier for him, I believe it’s time to forgive Will Smith and let this man get back to doing the work he loves.
And I think once you watch this, you’ll agree with me.
Deadline reported that in a just posted video that is 5 minutes, 44 seconds long, Will Smith has broken his silence about the regrettable “slap heard around the world,” in which he struck Oscar presenter Chris Rock after he made fun of Smith’s wife Jada Pinkett Smith. This before Smith was awarded Best Actor Oscar honors.
The apology was expected, and Smith has done it in the form of answering questions that were raised on the internet. While there was expectation Smith might choose a high profile TV interview for his apology with Oprah Winfrey on a late-night talk show, he instead chose to sit and calmly answer questions on social media.
The first was directed to Rock, the standup comic who made a joke about Pinkett Smith’s close cropped hair, perhaps not knowing she suffers from alopecia. Answering the question of why he didn’t apologize to Rock in his acceptance speech, Smith said:
“I was fogged out by that point. It is all fuzzy. I’ve reached out to Chris and the message that came back is that, he’s not ready to talk. When he is, he will reach out. I will say to you, Chris, I apologize to you. My behavior was unacceptable and I am here whenever you are ready to talk. I want to apologize to Chris’s mother. I saw an interview [she] did, and that was one of the things I just didn’t realize. I wasn’t thinking, but how many people got hurt in that moment. I want to apologize to Chris’ mother, I want to apologize to Chris’s family, specifically Tony Rock. We had a great relationship. Tony Rock was my man. This is probably irreparable. I spent the last three months replaying and understanding the nuance and complexity of what happened in that moment. I’m not going to try to unpack all of that right now, but I can say to all of you, there is no part of me that thinks that was the right way to behave in that moment. No part of me that thinks that is the optimal way to handle a feeling of disrespect or insult.”
Smith addressed whether his wife prompted his decision to run up to the stage from his front row seat, to strike a stunned Rock in the middle of his presentation of the Best Documentary award that was won by Questlove for Summer of Soul. Rock handled it in as stoic a fashion as could be imagined, carrying on after saying, ‘Will Smith just slapped the shit out of me,’ as the actor took his seat and yelled for Rock to keep his wife’s name out of his mouth. Smith answered the question as follows:
“No. I made a choice on my own, from my own experience, and my history with Chris. Jada had nothing to do with it. I’m sorry, babe, and I want to say sorry to my kids and my family for the heat that I brought on all of us.”
He also apologized to the nominees whose Oscars went unnoticed, because viewers were so stunned by the slap. That included Jessica Chastain, who won Best Actress, and the cast of CODA, which won Best Picture.
“To all my fellow nominees, this is a community. I won because you voted for me and it really breaks my heart to have stolen and tarnished your moment. I can still see Questlove’s eyes – it happened on Questlove’s award – and I am sorry isn’t really sufficient.”
Finally, Smith finished with this:
“Two things. One, disappointing people is my central trauma. I hate when I let people down, so it hurts me psychologically and emotionally that I didn’t live up to peoples’ image and impression of me. The work I am trying to do is, I am deeply remorseful and I’m trying to be remorseful without being ashamed of myself. I’m human and I made a mistake and I’m trying not to think of myself as a piece of shit so I would say to those people, I know it was confusing, I know it was shocking, but I promise you I am deeply devoted and committed to putting light and love and joy into the world. If you hang on, I promise we will be able to be friends again.”
The part where he said, “I am trying not to think of myself as a piece of sh*t” really hit me. We’re all human, and we’ve all made mistakes, where we feel like a piece of sh*t… But most of us get to do that in private, not on the world’s stage.
Yes, Will brought most of this one himself (his wife played a role, I don’t care what he or anybody says), but it wasn’t the end of the world. It was a really weird moment that we all witnessed and it’s time to accept his apology, and his humility and move on.
I hope Will heals and can accept what happened, learn from it, and do better without demonizing himself anymore.
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