Will Smith Apologises To Chris Rock And Declares That “Violence In All Forms Is Poisonous”: ‘i’m Embarrassed,’ Says The Speaker

Will Smith has apologized publicly to Chris Rock after the King Richard star struck him in the face on Sunday night. Smith, 53, apologized for punching Rock, 57, onstage at the 2022 Academy Awards in a lengthy message posted to Instagram on Monday. “Violence in all of its forms is poisonous and destructive. 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 began. “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,” he continued, which was the first time the Oscar winner directly apologized to the man he hit. “There is no place for violence in a world of love and kindness.”

“I would also like to apologize to the Academy, 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,” the actor continued. “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 occurred Sunday night after the comedian made a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith’s hair, saying in part, “Jada, I love ya. G.I. Jane 2, can’t wait to see ya.”

Later in the ceremony, when Smith won Best Actor, he apologized to the Academy and his fellow nominees but did not mention Rock. He spoke about acting out of love and protection in his impassioned address, stating, “Love makes you do insane things.” Since the incident, Rock has been silent. He declined to press charges, and the comedian’s representatives have yet to react to a request for comment from PEOPLE. “We do not condone violence of any kind,” the Academy declared in an early statement following the program, adding, “Tonight, we are thrilled to celebrate our 94th Academy Award recipients, who deserve this moment of recognition from their colleagues and cinema lovers around the world.”

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In a statement released Monday afternoon, the Academy said, “Mr. Smith’s conduct at last night’s show were condemned by the Academy. In compliance with our Bylaws, Standards of Conduct, and California law, we have begun a formal investigation into the occurrence and will consider further action and repercussions.” The Academy also revealed its Standards of Conduct, which “provide an ethical foundation for Academy members” and specify that “Members shall conduct in a way consistent with the Academy’s excellent reputation.”

Unacceptable conduct, according to the statement, includes “uninvited physical contact that is inappropriate and undesirable in the situation.” If a member is found to have breached the standards, “the Academy may take any disciplinary action allowable by the Academy’s Bylaws, up to and including suspension of membership or expulsion from membership,” according to the Standards of Conduct.

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