Actor Will Smith apologized to comedian Chris Rock one day after slapping him across the face during Sunday’s Academy Awards ceremony following a joke Rock made about the actor’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith.
Smith’s apology Monday came after the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences issued a formal statement condemning his behavior for slapping Rock and announced it was initiating an investigation.
“Violence in all of its forms is poisonous and destructive,” Smith said Monday in a statement his publicist posted on Instagram.
“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,” Smith added.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced it was initiating an investigation into the incident. According to the Academy’s code of conduct, Smith could face consequences such as “suspension of membership or expulsion from membership.”
In recent years, violations of this code have led to the removal of members such as Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby and Roman Polanski, who were expelled over allegations of sexual misconduct.
Rock did not file a police report.
“LAPD investigative entities are aware of an incident between two individuals during the Academy Awards program. The incident involved one individual slapping another. The individual involved has declined to file a police report,” said the LAPD in an official statement to the press. “If the involved party desires a police report at a later date, LAPD will be available to complete an investigative report.
Ahead of presenting the award for best documentary, Rock directed a comment to Pinkett Smith saying: “Jada, I love you. ‘G.I. Jane 2,’ can’t wait to see it,” apparently drawing a comparison to actress Demi Moore’s shaved hairstyle in the 1997 movie G.I. Jane.
While Pinkett Smith was shown rolling her eyes following the comment, her husband walked over to the stage and slapped Rock across the face during the live broadcast, a moment that went viral shortly after.
After taking his seat again, Smith directed profanity at the comedian, demanding he not speak of his wife.
Pinkett Smith, 50, has previously been vocal about her struggles with hair loss due to the autoimmune disease alopecia. She publicly shared her diagnosis in 2018 during a segment of her Facebook talk show series Red Table Talk.
Initially, the Academy had only issued a statement via its Twitter account after the ceremony ended.
“The Academy does not condone violence of any form,” the tweet said.
Later Sunday evening, Smith was awarded an Oscar for Best Actor in a Leading Role for his performance as Richard Williams, the father of tennis champions Venus and Serena Williams, in the film King Richard.
During his acceptance speech, Smith appeared emotional and apologized to the Academy and his fellow nominees, but did not directly mention Rock.
“Love will make you do crazy things,” Smith said, addressing his behavior.
“Thank you. I hope the Academy invites me back.”
VOA’s Zoya Mirza contributed to this report.