“That was a horrific night”: Will Smith opens up on 'bottled rage' behind Chris Rock slap in moving Trevor Noah interview
Will Smith recently appeared on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah and opened up about the infamous Oscar incident when he slapped Chris Rock onstage after the latter made a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith’s shaved head.
Speaking on his absence from the public eye, the actor said:
“I have been away. What have y’all been doing?”
Shortly after, he acknowledged the 2022 Oscars and said that it was a “horrific night” and he “lost it” at the end of the day:
“That was a horrific night, as you can imagine. There’s many nuances and complexities to it. But at the end of the day, I just — I lost it, you know?”
Will Smith shared that he was going through some issues that night but clarified that it did not justify his behavior.
He also mentioned that his traumatic childhood experiences and the rage of seeing his father abuse his mother “bubbled up” inside him at the time, even though he did not want to be someone who was driven by anger:
“I was going through something that night, you know? Not that that justifies my behavior at all… It was a lot of things. It was the little boy that watched his father beat up his mother, you know? All of that just bubbled up in that moment. That is not who I want to be.”
The Pursuit of Happyness star further opened up about his rage and added:
“I was gone. That was a rage that had been bottled for a really long time.”
He even shared an anecdote from the aftermath of the Oscar slap incident and how it reflected his personal life:
“My nephew is nine. He is the sweetest little boy. We came home. He had stayed up late to see his uncle Will and we are sitting in my kitchen and he is on my lap and he is holding the Oscar and he is just like, ‘Why did you hit that man, Uncle Will?’ Damn it. Why are you trying to Oprah me?”
In response to Will Smith’s statement, Trevor Noah mentioned that he believes the former’s action at the Oscars is not a reflection of who he is as a person. The host ended the moving conversation by saying that everyone makes mistakes.
Twitter reacts to Will Smith’s statement about Oscars slap incident during Trevor Noah interview
Will Smith left the entertainment industry in shock when he slapped comedian Chris Rock during the 2022 Oscars ceremony for the latter’s G.I. Jane joke about Jada Pinkett Smith’s shaved head.
Although Pinkett Smith has been vocal about her struggles with alopecia, Rock claimed that he was unaware of her condition. Meanwhile, Smith was largely condemned for his actions and banned from the Academy for the next 10 years.
Following months of disappearance from the public eye, Smith recently made his first talk show appearance since the Oscars on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah to promote his new film Emancipation.
During the interview, Smith addressed the Oscars controversy, saying it was a “horrific night” and that the slap was a result of his “bottled-up rage.” He also mentioned that his behavior cannot be justified irrespective of his personal trauma.
In the wake of the interview, several social media users took to Twitter to react to Smith’s statement. Many also praised Trevor Noah for his human approach to the situation and acknowledged Will Smith for taking responsibility for his actions. See some tweets below.
However, some users continued to call out Smith for his past actions and his approach to addressing the controversy.
While Smith received the Oscar Award for Best Actor for his work in King Richard following the slap incident, he faced major backlash over his actions. The actor also apologized for his behavior onstage and posted a series of personal apologies to Chris Rock.
In the wake of the Oscars, Rock addressed the incident during some of his comedy shows but is yet to officially acknowledge Will Smith’s apology.