Jada Pinkett Smith has spoken out for the first time since the furore over her husband Will Smith slapping comedian Chris Rock at the Oscars.
During the ceremony on Sunday, Rock made a joke about Pinkett Smith’s shaved head, which led to Smith hitting him on stage and then swearing furiously at him once back in his seat.
After apologising to the Academy during his Oscars acceptance speech – Smith was named best actor for his performance in King Richard following the incident – the star released a full statement also apologising to Rock on Monday night.
Now, Pinkett Smith has also spoken out, sharing a simple quote on Instagram: “This is a season for healing and I’m here for it.”
The incident has dominated Oscars headlines, with the Academy on Monday announcing it had launched a formal review.
Few major Hollywood stars have shared their thoughts on it – but actor Jim Carrey has said he was “sickened” by what he saw, that the audience was “spineless” for giving Smith a standing ovation just minutes later, and that he “should have been arrested”.
In an interview on US television show CBS This Morning, he said the slap was a selfish moment that cast a pall over the whole awards ceremony, saying: “It really felt like this is a really clear indication that we’re not the cool club anymore.”
And he added: “I’d have announced this morning that I was suing for Will for 200 million dollars because that video is going to be there forever, it’s going to be ubiquitous. That insult is going to last a very long time.”
For those who don’t know what happened…
Rock, who was presenting an award at the ceremony, made the joke about Pinkett Smith on stage, saying: “Jada, can’t wait for GI Jane 2.” GI Jane, released in 1997, saw star Demi Moore famously shave her head for the role.
Smith, 53, appeared to initially laugh at the comment, but Pinkett Smith, 50, who was sitting next to him, rolled her eyes and looked unimpressed. She revealed in 2018 that she has alopecia and has spoken publicly about the challenges of hair loss.
Before he could go much further, Rock was confronted by Smith, remarking “uh oh” as he saw the soon-to-be Oscar winner get up from his seat and approach him.
Smith then walked on to the stage and slapped Rock before returning to his seat and shouting twice: “Keep my wife’s name out of your f****** mouth.”
The uncomfortable incident shocked the crowd into a stunned silence, but Rock composed himself to present the award and the show continued.
On Monday, the organisers of the Oscars said they “condemn” Smith’s attack on Rock and that they have opened a formal review into the incident.
The Academy said it would “explore further action and consequences in accordance with our bylaws, standards of conduct and California law”.
What has Smith said?
In his apology, Smith said: “I was out of line and I was wrong.”
Writing on Instagram, he 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.”
Smith also apologised once again to the Academy, Oscars attendees and “everyone watching around the world”, as well as the Williams family and his “King Richard family”. The biopic film sees Smith playing Richard Williams, father of tennis stars Venus and Serena, who were in attendance at the event.
“I deeply regret that my behavior has stained what has been an otherwise gorgeous journey for all of us,” Smith concluded. “I am a work in progress.”
The moment was met with mixed reactions online, with Star Wars legend Mark Hamill describing the slap as the “ugliest Oscar moment ever”. However, many people have defended Smith.
Oscars showrunner Will Packer described the altercation as “a very painful moment for me”.
The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) said no report had been filed after the incident, and Rock has not yet commented publicly.