Will Smith recounts infamous Oscars slap as ‘horrific decision’


Will Smith, right, slaps Chris Rock onstage during the 94th Oscars at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, California, on March 27, 2022. (Robyn Beck / AFP via Getty Images)

(NewsNation) — Will Smith opened up about his infamous Oscar night slap of comedian Chris Rock in an interview with Trevor Noah while promoting his new film “Emancipation.”

The actor shocked millions last March at the Academy Awards by striking show host Rock for making a joke about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett-Smith. Eight months later, Smith remembers it as a “horrific decision.”

“It was a lot of things,” Smith said in his appearance on “The Daily Show.” “It was the little boy that watched his father beat up his mother, you know. All of that just bubbled up in that moment.”

Noah referenced Smith’s memoir “Will,” which explored harrowing accounts of his childhood as well as other hardships later in his career. 

“Not that that justifies my behavior at all,” Smith said, adding that there were “many nuances and complexities to it.” But, he added, “I just, I lost it.”

The actor appeared on “The Daily Show” to promote his upcoming film “Emancipation,” which is already receiving Oscar buzz. Though Smith himself has been banned from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for 10 years, the film itself could still see a nomination in the upcoming awards season. 

Audiences, however, may be deterred because of Smith’s actions. 

“That is killing me dead,” Smith said in discussing how his presence could derail “Emancipation.” 

“These top artists in the world have done some of the best work of their careers,” Smith said, adding, “I hope that their work will be honored, and their work will not be tainted based on a horrific decision on my part.”

Smith last addressed the slap in a July public apology to Rock on social media.

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