Will Smith issues public apology to Chris Rock and says ‘violence is poisonous’

Will Smith has publicly apologised to Chris Rock after smacking him in the face live on stage at the Oscars.

The star, who went on to collect the gong for Best Actor soon after, rushed to the defence of wife Jada Pinkett Smith after the comic made a jibe about her.

Taking to Instagram, Will has now said he believed violence to be “poisonous and destructive” and issued his apologies to Chris.

The 53-year-old said: “Violence in all of its forms is poisonous and destructive. My behavior at last night’s Academy Awards was unacceptable and inexcusable. 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. 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.

“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.”

Get Hard actor Chris, who looked visibly shocked by the outburst, has not publicly responded.

The drama unfolded when Chris joked about Jada Pinkett Smith’s buzzcut, quipping: “Jada, can’t wait for GI Jane 2.”The drama unfolded when Chris joked about Jada Pinkett Smith’s buzzcut, quipping: “Jada, can’t wait for GI Jane 2.”

Later on in the evening, Will won Best Actor and as he walked up to the stage he slapped the presenter, before returning to his seat and shouting: “Keep my wife’s name out of your f****** mouth.”

The joke Chris made was a reference to the 1997 movie G.I Jane – which starred Demi Moore sporting a buzzcut similar to Jada’s.

At the BAFTAs in London a fortnight ago, host Rebel Wilson also had a go at the couple when he won won the Leading Actor award for King Richard.

Will wasn’t in attendance but many stars groaned when she said his ‘best performance in the past year was being OK with all his wife’s boyfriends’ – referencing Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith’s open relationship.

Journalists covering the awards ceremony from the press area were instructed not to ask any attendees about Smith slapping Rock, according to BBC correspondent David Sillito.

Vanity Fair has reported it is “unlikely” he will lose his Oscar.

The LAPD have issued a statement saying that Rock had not filed a police report, but that if Chris Rock chooses to do so, police will investigate.

‘LAPD investigative entities are aware of an incident between two individuals during the Academy Awards program,’ the statement said. ‘The incident involved one individual slapping another.’

The Academy had initially stayed tight-lipped about the incident but last night released a statement condemning the Fresh Prince star’s actions.

In a statement on Monday, the 9,900-member Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences said it ‘condemns the actions of Mr. Smith at last night’s show.’

‘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 added.

“The group’s standards of conduct policy states it is ‘categorically opposed to any form of abuse, harassment or discrimination’ and expects members to uphold the values ‘of respect for human dignity, inclusion, and a supportive environment that fosters creativity.’

“Violations may result in suspension or expulsion from the group, revocation of Oscars, or loss of eligibility for future awards, according to the policy. “

Marshall Herskovitz, president emeritus of the Producers Guild of America, was among the first to condemn Smith, tweeting shortly after the attack that Smith had ‘disgraced our entire community’.

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He said: ‘I call upon the Academy, of which I am a member, to take disciplinary action against Will Smith. He disgraced our entire community tonight.’

Herskovitz accused those who defended the actor of ‘moral cowardice’.

‘People standing up and applauding after the first assault in 94 years of Oscar history. Moral cowardice,’ he said.

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