The 92nd Academy Awards happened months ago, but a controversial incident during the live telecast continues to follow actor Will Smith.
At one point in the show, he walked up to the stage and slapped presenter Chris Rock after he’d made a quick joke about Smith’s wife, Jada, and her alopecia.
The shocking Oscars moment was caught on camera, followed by censored audio footage of Smith after he returned to his seat in the audience and yelled at Rock to keep his wife’s name out of his mouth.
That slap incident didn’t have immediate repercussions as Smith remained in attendance for the ceremony and accepted his award for Best Actor with an on-stage speech later that evening. However, the slap ultimately resulted in Smith getting banned from Academy events for the next 10 years.
He also resigned from the Academy and has issued several apologies, including another recent one to Chris Rock in a video message.
His viral Oscars moment brought plenty of comments from other comedians, actors, and people all over social media, as everyone had an opinion or a side on the matter. It also brought a slew of continuous media coverage with it.
Now months later, Will’s daughter Willow Smith has publicly addressed the much-talked-about Oscars slap, saying the media coverage “didn’t rock me as much as my own internal demons.”
Willow Smith comments on her dad’s Oscars incident
At 21 years old, Willow Smith has been blazing a trail of her own towards success in the entertainment industry without piggybacking off her parents’ success. She’s had roles in multiple films and TV shows and released four studio albums, with another on the way.
Her fifth album, ironically called Coping Mechanism, arrives in September.
During a recent Billboard interview, the singer commented about why the constant media coverage of her father’s Oscars incident didn’t affect her artistic abilities or creativity.
“I see my whole family as being human, and I love and accept them for all their humanness,” Willow said. “Because of the position that we’re in, our humanness sometimes isn’t accepted, and we’re expected to act in a way that isn’t conducive to a healthy human life and isn’t conducive to being honest,” she said, per Billboard.
Smith’s statement about her father’s controversy came a week after he issued another public apology, this time via video message, which included him reaching out to Chris Rock.
Will Smith shared emotional video message, apologized to Rock
Last Friday, Will Smith shared a YouTube video in which he addressed his Oscars incident from this past March. He said he was “remorseful” over what he did and had been working on processing what happened that night.
Smith also mentioned he’d reached out to comedian Chris Rock and apologized again in his video. However, he said at this time, a message he received back from Chris or his people was that the comedian wasn’t ready to talk.
“I will say to you, Chris, I apologize to you. My behavior was unacceptable, and I’m here whenever you’re ready to talk,” Smith said in his video.
“I hate when I let people down. So it hurts, it hurts me psychologically and emotionally to know I didn’t live up to people’s image and impression of me. And the work I’m 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 s**t,” he said.
He went on to say he’s “deeply devoted and committed to putting light and love and joy into the world.”
“You know, if you hang on, I promise we’ll be able to be friends again,” Smith said during his comments.
Check out Smith’s complete message about his Oscars incident in the YouTube video below.
As far as Chris Rock talking to Smith about what happened, that’s still unknown. Earlier this week, a source indicated to ET Online that “Chris has no plans to reach out to Will” and that Will “needs the public’s forgiveness, not Chris.”