I’m Embarrassed – Will Smith Says As He Apologizes To Chris Rock

Will Smith apologized to the comedian Chris Rock on Monday evening for slapping him during Sunday night’s Oscars telecast after the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which administers the awards, denounced his actions and opened an inquiry into the incident.

Smith, who had pointedly not apologized to Rock on Sunday night when he accepted the award for best actor, wrote on Instagram Monday evening that

“I would like to publicly apologize to you, Chris.”

“I was out of line and I was wrong,” he said in the statement. “I am embarrassed and my actions were not indicative of the man I want to be.”

Will Smith Slapping Chris Rock

His apology came as the academy, a major Hollywood union and others criticized his actions, which stunned viewers around the world and overshadowed the Oscars.

“The academy condemns the actions of Smith at last night’s show,” the film organization said in a statement. “We have officially started a formal review around the incident and will explore further action and consequences in accordance with our bylaws, standards of conduct and California law.”

The academy’s statement came after a meeting Monday. A five-page document on standards of conduct that accompanied it spells out behaviour the organization deems unacceptable. It prohibits

“physical contact that is uninvited and, in the situation, inappropriate and unwelcome or coercive sexual attention.” Also not allowed is “intimidation, stalking, abusive or threatening behaviour, or bullying.”

Disciplinary action, according to the bylaws, could include

“suspension of membership or expulsion from membership.”

The Academy was not known to have expelled a member before 2017 when Harvey Weinstein was removed amid allegations of sexual harassment and rape.

Then, in 2018, after adopting a code of conduct for members, the organization expelled Bill Cosby, who had been convicted of sexual assault, and the filmmaker Roman Polanski, who had fled the country years earlier while awaiting sentencing for statutory rape.

The Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, the union representing thousands of people who work in film, television and radio, called the incident “unacceptable” but said that it “does not comment on any pending member disciplinary process.”

“Violence or physical abuse in the workplace is never appropriate and the union condemns any such conduct,” the union said in a statement Monday.

“The incident involving Will Smith and Chris Rock at last night’s Academy Awards was unacceptable.”

The incident unfolded Sunday night after Rock made a joke about the buzzed hair of Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, who has alopecia, a condition that leads to hair loss.

Smith responded by walking onto the stage of the Dolby Theater and slapping Rock, leaving stunned viewers wondering at first if the blow might have been scripted until Smith returned to his seat and warned him to stop talking about his wife, using expletives.

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