Will Smith apologises to Chris Rock over 'out of line' Oscars slap

280322 Will Smith slaps Chris Rock, AP
Credit: AP

It seems the hardening of the statement by the Academy that runs the Oscars has done the trick, or at least helped dampen down the furore caused by Will Smith’s actions at the Oscars on Sunday night. 

The actor, who smacked awards presenter Chris Rock in the face after the comedian made a joke at the expense of Smith’s wife Jada, has gone onto Instagram to offer a public apology to Rock, after he failed to do so on stage at the awards show.

"A joke about Jada’s medical condition was too much for me to bear," he wrote, "and I reacted emotionally. 

"I would like to publicly apologise 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."

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The statement comes after the Academy condemned his actions and announced a review into the incident and is in stark contrast to the footage of Smith at the Vanity Fair party after the awards, dancing and entertaining the partygoers.

There were calls on social  media for Smith to be forced to return his Oscar, and with the actor possibly facing at the least a public reprimand, he has acted to try and make amends.

The incident in front of a TV audience of around 15 million was one of the most shocking in Oscars’ history. 

Chris Rock had indicated that he would not be pursuing the case with the police, but such was the uproar that it was clear Smith would have to make a statement of some kind if he wished to halt the criticism.

One of the most popular actors in Hollywood, his box office and fanbase relies on his image as a “good guy”, he often plays the principled hero, and what viewers saw on stage on Sunday left some feeling he had sabotaged his image.

Jada Pinkett-Smith did not directly address the situation on Tuesday, but she did post a short message about 'healing'

He still retains a huge following and a number of people in the industry had voiced support for what he did to,  as he claimed, defend his wife against Rock’s misjudged joke.

This apology may go some way to douse the flames, but it won’t of course eradicate those images of his violence.