Will Smith has apologised to Chris Rock for slapping him at last night’s Oscars ceremony, saying: “I was out of line and I was wrong.”
Writing on Instagram, the former Fresh Prince described his behaviour as “unacceptable and inexcusable”.
He said the joke Rock made about his wife’s medical condition was “too much for me to bear and I reacted emotionally”.
Referring to her shaved head, Rock said: “Jada, can’t wait for GI Jane 2.”
Smith, 53, initially laughed at the joke but his wife, sitting next to him, rolled her eyes and looked unimpressed. She revealed in 2018 that was diagnosed with alopecia and has spoken publicly about the challenges of hair loss.
Smith then walked on stage and slapped Rock around the face before returning to his seat and shouting twice: “Keep my wife’s name out of your f****** mouth.”
Smith wrote: “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.
“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. 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. 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.”
Rock appeared shocked and flustered as he tried to resume presenting the best documentary feature category.
He said: “Oh wow, Will just smacked the s*** out of me.
“That was the greatest night in the history of television.”
During the commercial break, Smith and Pinkett Smith could be seen being comforted by actor Denzel Washington.
Following the attack, Smith went on to win the best actor gong for his role in the biopic King Richard. It was his first Oscar.
Smith made numerous apologies in his acceptance speech – but notable there was not one for Chris Rock, so this Instagram post is the first time he as apologised to the comedian.
The organisers of the award show have said they “condemn” the attack and have opened a formal review into the incident.
The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) said no report had been filed in regard to the altercation, saying Rock declined to file a police report against the actor.
Smith later attended the Vanity Fair after party, posing with his family on the red carpet with his wife and three children – sons Trey, 29, and Jaden, 23, and daughter Willow, 21.