Nov 29, 2022 - Economy & Business

“Hurt people hurt people”: Will Smith opens up in first major interview since slapping Chris Rock

Will Smith accepts the Actor in a Leading Role award for ‘King Richard’ onstage during the 94th Annual Academy Awards.

Will Smith accepts Best Actor in a Leading Role award at the 94th Annual Academy Awards. Photo: Neilson Barnard/Getty Images

Actor Will Smith said in a new interview with Trevor Noah on "The Daily Show" that he "lost it" when he slapped comedian Chris Rock at the Oscars earlier this year.

The big picture: Smith's controversial slap of Rock became a national talking point back in March surrounding one of the most celebrated actors of all time.

Catch up quick: Smith slapped the comedian Rock at the Oscars live on stage after Rock made a joke about Smith's wife, Jada Pinkett-Smith, who has alopecia (an autoimmune disorder that can cause hair loss).

What he said: Smith told Noah on Monday that there were "many nuances and complexities" behind his decision to slap Rock on that "horrific night."

  • "At the end of the day, I just, I lost it," Smith told Noah. "I guess what I would say, you just never know what somebody’s going through."
  • Smith said he was "going through something that night," but that shouldn't be an excuse for what happened.
  • “We just got to be nice to each other, man,” Smith said. “It’s hard. And I guess the thing that was most painful for me is, I took my hard and made it hard for other people. I understood the idea when they say hurt people hurt people.”
  • Smith said the moment was "the little boy that watched his father beat up his mother" and "all of that just bubbled up in that moment. You know, that’s not who I wanna be.”
  • "I’ve always wanted to be Superman," he added. "I’ve always wanted to swoop in and save the damsel in distress, you know. And I had to humble down and realize that I’m a flawed human."

Between the lines: Smith's new comments come ahead of the Dec. 9 release of his new movie, "Emancipation." This is Smith's first film release since the Oscar incident, and it is generating Oscar buzz already.

Flashback: Smith has made few public statements about the incident. He previously apologized in a statement in late March. Smith also said in a social media video back in July that he was "deeply remorseful" for slapping Rock, Axios reported.

  • "I will say to you, Chris, I apologize to you. My behavior was unacceptable and I'm here whenever you're ready to talk," Smith said.

More from Axios:

Will Smith banned from Oscars for 10 years for slapping Chris Rock

Will Smith slap seizes conversation in America

Oscars producer says he urged Academy not to remove Will Smith

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