Will Smith is in a "better space" nearly four months after the actor slapped Chris Rock onstage at the 2022 Academy Awards, close friend Kevin Hart told Entertainment Tonight in a new interview. Addressing the aftermath of the altercation between Smith and Rock, Hart revealed that the King Richard star was trying to "move forward."
"Will is apologetic, you know, he's in a better space, of course, than what he was after," Hart shared. "People are human and as humans sometimes we make mistakes. So it's not about talking about the past, it's about acknowledging the present and doing your best to move forward." He continued, "I can get only hope that the two of them find a way to find some solace in that and move past it. I just like good energy. I love to see people be the best." When it comes to Rock, the DC League of Super-Pets star added, "I still love him, I still love Chris, and, you know, you can't judge a person by one thing. Ultimately, life goes on and people grow, so give him the opportunity to do so."
Smith's wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, previously expressed a similar sentiment on Red Table Talk in June. "Now about Oscar night, my deepest hope is that these two intelligent, capable men have an opportunity to heal, talk this out and reconcile," she said. "The state of the world today, we need them both. And we all actually need one another more than ever. Until then, Will and I are continuing to do what we have done for the last 28 years, and that's keep figuring out this thing called life together. Thank you for listening."
As a result of the slap, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences banned Smith from all its events for 10 years. AMPAS president David Rubin and CEO Dawn Hudson wrote in a letter that the ban "is a step toward a larger goal of protecting the safety of our performers and guests, and restoring trust in the Academy." Following the board's decision, Smith said in a statement, "I accept and respect the Academy's decision."