While the majority of the attention was on his incident with Chris Rock, Will Smith still walked away with an Oscar for his performance in King Richard. Smith was awarded the Oscar for Best Actor for his role as Richard Williams, the father of Venus and Serena Williams. Considering that his win came shortly after he had slapped Rock for making a joke about wife Jada Pinkett Smith, his acceptance speech was certainly one to watch.
Naturally, Smith took time to address the prior incident, which occurred shortly before his win, in his acceptance speech. In particular, he apologized to the Academy and his fellow nominees for what took place. He also acknowledged the moment itself, albeit without mentioning Rock by name. He said, "I'm being called on in my life to love people and to protect people and to be a river to my people. I know to do what we do, you got to be able to take abuse." Smith continued, "You got to be able to have people talk crazy about you. In this business, you got to be able to have people disrespecting you. And you got to smile and you got to pretend like that's OK." You can watch his full speech in the video below.
Many noted that while Smith apologized, he did not directly apologize to Rock in his speech. A day after the Oscars, the Oscar winner did share a lengthy apology to the comedian on social media. He began by writing that violence "in all forms is poisonous and destructive" and went on to acknowledge that his behavior at the awards ceremony was "unacceptable and inexcusable." Smith then explained why he took issue with Rock's joke, writing, "Jokes at my expense are a part of the job, but a joke about Jada's medical condition was too much for me to bear and I reacted emotionally."
"I would like to publicly apologize to you, Chris," Smith continued. "I was out of line and I was wrong. 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." The actor continued to express remorse to the Academy and those who worked on King Richard. He added, "I would also like to apologize to the Academy, the producers of the show, all the attendees and everyone watching around the world. I would like to apologize to the Williams Family and my King Richard Family. I deeply regret that my behavior has stained what has been an otherwise gorgeous journey for all of us. I am a work in progress."