LOS ANGELES - Best-actor winner Will Smith has issued an apology to Chris Rock for smacking him in the face during the Oscars after the comedian made a joke about Smith's wife, actress Jada Pinkett Smith.
In a statement posted to Instagram, the actor wrote:
"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.
Rock was on stage Sunday night to present the Oscar for best documentary feature, but he peppered in some jokes, including one referencing Pinkett Smith's bald head, suggesting she would be starring in a sequel to "G.I. Jane."
Pinkett Smith has talked in the past about having a hair-loss condition. And her husband, who initially appeared to laugh at the quip, didn't take it well.
Smith, who was seated in the front of the Dolby Theatre, walked onto the stage and smacked Rock, in a move that initially drew some laughs from the crowd, believing it was a pre-planned comedy skit. But Smith stalked back to his seat, then sternly screamed at Rock twice, telling him to "keep my wife's name out of your (expletive) mouth."
The audience then fell into a stunned silence.
Earlier Monday, The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences said it condemns the actions of Smith during Sunday night’s Oscars and it will launch a formal review of his slapping of presenter Chris Rock.
The film academy said it will also "explore further action and consequences in accordance with our Bylaws, Standards of Conduct and California law."
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