Carolyn Smith, Will Smith's mother, was just as surprised as the rest of us when she saw her son walk on stage at the Oscars and slap Chris Rock. "He is a very even, people person," Carolyn Smith told ABC Philadelphia affiliate WPVI. "That's the first time I've ever seen him go off. First time in his lifetime... I've never seen him do that."
Putting the violent incident aside, Smith noted that she was proud of her son for winning Best Actor for his performance as tennis family patriarch Richard Williams in King Richard. "I am proud of him being him," she added. "I know how he works, how hard he works ... I've been waiting and waiting and waiting. When I heard the name, I was just, 'Yes!'"
Following the incident, Smith apologized directly to Rock on Instagram. "I would like to publicly apologize to you, Chris. I was out of line and I was wrong," Smith said in part on Monday. "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." He also apologized to "the Academy, the producers of the show, all the attendees and everyone watching around the world."
The Academy said in a statement on Monday that it condemns Smith's actions and that it "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." CNN reported Monday that Academy leadership "strongly considered" removing Smith from the broadcast. "There were immediate discussions, but the Academy decision-makers were seated in various spots in the Dolby Theater and couldn't mobilize to make a decision before he won Best Actor," a source told the outlet.
Smith slapped Rock late in the Oscars ceremony when Rock was presenting Best Documentary Feature. Rock made a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith's shaved head, prompting Smith to walk onstage to strike the comedian. "Keep my wife's name out your f-ing mouth!" Smith yelled from his seat after he sat back down. Minutes later, he won Best Actor and delivered an emotional speech.
The moment drew plenty of reactions; comedian Jim Carrey, in particular, slammed the Oscars attendees for lauding Smith with a standing ovation. "Hollywood is just spineless en masse and it really felt like this is a really clear indication that we aren't the cool club anymore," he said in an interview on CBS Mornings.