Early this year, actor Will Smith got physical with comedian Chris Rock after he made a joke about his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. Immediately following “the slap heard around the world,” fans took to social media to express their shock at what happened. Many people were surprised by Smith’s actions, vowing never to support him again. Still, many came to his defense, saying they understood his frustrations.
Will Smith took to Instagram to express his deepest apologies for what transpired that night. In the video, he takes full responsibility for his actions, saying that he’s taken the last few months to reflect.
He apologized to Rock as well as his brother, Tony Rock, whom he shared a longtime friendship with. He also apologized to the entire Rock family, including his mother, after seeing an interview in which she addressed the incident.
Smith admits to now understanding the ripple effect of his actions. He says that going forward, he is “deeply committed to putting light, and love, and joy into the world.”
Can Will Smith make a comeback?
Fan reaction to the apology is mixed. Some call the apology a “PR move,” while others appreciate his acknowledging his wrongs.
But the reaction that everyone is waiting for is from Chris Rock himself.
In the video, Smith says that when he reached out to Rock, his team advised that he wasn’t ready to talk but would whenever the time came.
So now that Smith has publicly apologized, there’s not much else to do except hope to reconcile his friendship with comedian Chris Rock. In the meantime, Smith is set to star in an upcoming film Emancipation, proving that cancel culture may not be real after all. Let’s take a look at how Will Smith has fared since the infamous Oscars slap:
1. Smith received one of the highest salaries for a movie this year
Recently, Variety released a new list detailing the salaries of top Hollywood actors. On the list were heavy-hitters like Leonardo DiCaprio, Denzel Washington, and Brad Pitt.
But Smith ranked above them all due to his upcoming movie Emancipation. The film earned him a $35 million salary, putting him at number two on the list. Tom Cruise sat right above him at a whopping $100 million salary for the heavily anticipated film Top Gun: Maverick.
Fans were shocked to hear the news. And, of course, many had mixed reactions to it. But no matter which side they fell on, most agreed that cancel culture may not be real.
2. The director of 'Emancipation' Calls the Film His Greatest Yet
In Emancipation, Smith plays a runaway slave who journeys into the Louisiana swamplands to escape the menacing plantation owners who try to kill him. Inspired by true events, the film conjured interest after a photograph of an actual slave with scars on his back circulated online.
In an interview on The Playlist Podcast Network, director Antoine Fuqua gushed over the film. “Don’t have a release date for it yet, but, as a feature film goes, it’s the best thing I’ve ever done.” He says, “As a director, I mean, you hope to grow…I see some growth in my soul…it is epic.”
3. His family is still tight
Since the infamous slap, the Smith family has seemingly stayed together, despite the backlash on social media.
Following the altercation, son Jaden Smith tweeted, “And That’s How We Do It,” which many fans assumed was his way of expressing solidarity with his father. Still, the intent behind the message is unclear without context, and Jaden has not directly addressed “the slap.”
Two days after the incident, daughter Willow Smith shared a quote in her Instagram story calling for peace. The message read, “You know who’s going through a lot right now? Literally everyone. Just be kind.”
And in an episode of “Red Table Talk” Jada Pinkett Smith called for healing, saying, “My deepest hope is that these two intelligent, capable men have an opportunity to heal, talk this out, and reconcile.”
4. But his biggest success is freedom
Aside from posting a lengthy social media apology the next day, Smith has kept a pretty low profile. That is until he released a second apology, which showed a more vulnerable, contrite Smith.
In the video, he directly apologized to Chris Rock, his brother Tony Rock, and their mother. He even apologized to Questlove for stealing his important Oscar moment as well.
Fans acknowledged his apology, showing their support with an influx of encouraging comments underneath the post.
Smith says that he reached out to Rock to reconcile but hasn’t yet heard from him. And while Rock understandably takes time to process everything, Smith can rest easy knowing that he did the right thing in the end.