Will Smith reveals why he slapped Chris Rock during the Oscars: 'I was going through something that night'

The night Will Smith slapped comedian Chris Rock across the face during the Oscars changed his entire life and the consequences of it might still follow.

Will Smith opens up about Oscar slap
© Jerod Harris/Getty Images
Will Smith opens up about Oscar slap

The incident that happened during the 94th Academy Awards shook everyone to the core. People saw a different side of the Hollywood actor and he was subsequently banned by the Academy despite winning the best actor award that night.

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Bottled up rage

Talking to Trevor Noah on The Daily Show, Will tried to explain his standpoint. The Men in Black actor shared what drove him to slap Chris Rock in front of millions of viewers and yet confirmed that any explanation ‘doesn’t justify’ his behaviour.

Will revealed:

I was gone, dude. That was a rage that had been bottled for a really long time.
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Will also elaborated on how he had to explain to his 9-year-old nephew who tried to ‘Oprah’ him about the slapping incident. He said:

I was like, it was a mess. I don’t want to go too far into it to give people more to misunderstand.

He tried to explain his actions by reminding people ‘you just never know what somebody is going through.’ Will added:

I was going through something that night. That doesn’t justify my behaviour at all.
We just gotta be nice to each other, man.
It’s hard. I guess the thing that was most painful for me, is I took my heart and made it hard for other people. I understood the idea when they say hurt people hurt people.

Will anyone see his movie?

Elaborating on how he grew up in a house where his father beat up his mother, he explained how that frustration bubbled up at the moment. He said:

That’s not who I want to be.
I understand how shocking it was to people.

Realising his actions might have affected the popularity of his upcoming films, especially Emancipation – the movie he went to promote on the show. The Hollywood star said:

I completely understand — if someone is not ready, I would absolutely respect that and allow them their space to not be ready.
My deepest concern is my team – Antoine [Fuqua] has done what I think is the greatest work of his entire career.
The people on this team have done some of the best work of their entire careers, and my deepest hope is that my actions don’t penalise my team. At this point, that’s what I’m working for.

During the entire episode, Trevor Noah tried to stick up for Will repeatedly as ‘everybody can make a mistake.’ He also called out the ‘relentlessly shitty’ press that Will and his wife Jada Pinkett have endured.

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Deadline: Will Smith Talks Oscar Night With Trevor Noah: “That Was A Rage That Had Been Bottled For A Really Long Time”

YouTube: The Daily Show - Will Smith "Emancipation"

Chris Rock struggling to let go of Will Smith's Oscars slap, now comparing him to Muhammad Ali Chris Rock struggling to let go of Will Smith's Oscars slap, now comparing him to Muhammad Ali