Will Smith has spoken out about his controversial Oscar moment and attributed his actions to long-suppressed anger.
The actor slapped Chris Rock during this year’s Academy Awards ceremony after Rock made a controversial joke about his wife Jada Pinkett Smith’s shaved head.
Since then, the shocking moment has been one of the biggest talking points of the year, while Smith’s position in Hollywood has been the subject of much public debate.
After apologizing for the incident on his YouTube channel and via other press interactions, the King Richard the star has appeared The daily show with Trevor Noah Monday (November 28) to offer more information on the moment.
The interview began with an acknowledgment of Smith’s absence from the public eye, with the actor joking with the audience, “What did you do?”
Then, the pair began discussing his and Rock’s altercation. “It was a horrible night, as you can imagine,” began second-round Smith Variety.
“There are many nuances and complexities. But at the end of the day, I just lost it, you know?
“I was going through something that night, you know? Not that that justifies my behavior at all… It was many things. It was the little boy who saw his father hit his mother, you know? All of that exploded at that moment. It’s not who I want to be.
Noah then offered his take on the situation. In addition to mentioning his friendship with Rock and his belief that the conflict was being mishandled, Noah also mocked those who said Smith should have received a prison sentence for the act.
“A lot of black people were like, ‘He should go to jail.’ Like, you need to relax,” Noah said, to which Smith reacted with a laugh.
The actor then delved into the aftermath of the slap and had to face his loved ones after losing control in such a public forum.
“I was gone. That was anger that had been bottled up for a long time,” Smith explained.
“My nephew is nine years old. He is the sweetest little boy. We returned home. He’d been up late seeing his Uncle Will and we’re sitting in my kitchen and he’s on my lap and he’s holding the Oscar and he’s just like, ‘Why did you hit that man, Uncle Will?’ Damn. Why are you trying to make me Oprah?
Smith is currently promoting the film directed by Antoine Fuqua, Emancipationin which he plays an enslaved man who escapes his captors in 19th-century Louisiana.
In another recent interview, he said that he “completely understands” if viewers aren’t ready to see him in the film after his actions.