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Will Smith on Monday apologized to Chris Rock for slapping him at the 94th Academy Awards on Sunday night, saying in a statement that he was “out of line” and “embarrassed.”
“Violence in all of its forms is poisonous and destructive,” the actor said in a message posted on Instagram on Monday night. “My behavior at last night’s Academy Awards was unacceptable and inexcusable.”
“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,” Smith added.
Smith slapped Rock after the stand-up comedian made a joke about the physical appearance Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. The actor then returned to his seat inside the Dolby Theatre and shouted: “Keep my wife’s name out of your f—–g mouth!”
Smith’s statement came hours after the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences released a statement saying it condemned the actor’s actions.
“The Academy condemns the actions of Mr. Smith at last night’s show,” the organization said Monday. “We have officially started a formal review around the incident and will explore further action and consequences in accordance with our bylaws, standards of conduct and California law.”
Smith drew scrutiny Sunday because he did not directly apologize to Rock when he accepted the best actor Oscar for his role in “King Richard,” a portrait of Venus and Serena Williams’ father.
“I would like to publicly apologize to you, Chris. I was out of line and I was wrong,” Smith said. “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.”
The actor repeated his apology to the film academy as well as “the producers of the show, all the attendees and everyone watching around the world.”
“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,” he said.
“I am a work in progress,” the actor said in closing.
The encounter between Smith and Rock left the audience inside the Dolby Theatre stunned and set off a frenzy of conversation on social media.
Rock kept his composure after he was slapped, joking that it was the “greatest night in the history of television.” He declined to press charges, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.
Source: This post first appeared on NBC News