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Will Smith Attempts to Clear the Air About Oscar's Slap With YouTube Video

Screengrab: Will Smith/YouTube
Less than a week after Chris Rock finally addressed the incident, and four months after delivering the slap that shocked the cinema world, Will Smith posted a video to YouTube Friday to apologize again for striking the comedian during the live TV broadcast of the Academy Awards ceremony.

“I spent the last three months replaying and understanding the complexities and nuances of what happened in that moment,” Smith, who earned his first Oscar for "King Richard" moments after striding onto the stage and delivering a backhand to Rock, following a G. I. Jane joke at the expense of his wife Jada Pinkett Smith who has been candid over the years about her struggles with the hair-loss triggering condition alopecia.

He continued, “I’m not gonna try to unpack all of that right now, but I can say to all of you, there is no part of me that thinks that was the right way to behave in that moment. There’s no part of me that thinks that’s the optimal way to handle a feeling of disrespect of insults.”

Smith had previously posted an apology on Instagram hours after the incident. The video message, however, strove to answer questions about his motivations for his bad behavior as well as extend apologies to the comedian's family.

"It's been a minute," the opening credits of the video read. "Over the last few months, I've been doing a lot of thinking and personal work. You asked a lot of fair questions that I wanted to take some time to answer."

Among those answers were two that fans, television talking heads and entertainment rags had been speculating on for some time. Did his wife have anything to do with the attack, and why did he not apologize on stage when he accepted his award?

“I made a choice on my own, from my own experiences from my history with Chris. Jada had nothing to do with it," Smith said, making it clear that he was to blame for any actions he took that night. As for why he didn't immediately apologize to Rock during his acceptance speech for best actor, the Grammy winner said, "I was fogged out by that point. It’s all fuzzy."

Seemingly holding back tears, Smith went on to offer apologies to Rock's mother, Rose, and brother Tony, as well as musician Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson, who picked up his best documentary Oscar for Summer of Soul in the awkward moments following the slap.

The star also acknowledged that his apology, though sincere, might be too late.

"I've reached out to Chris and the message that came back is that he's not ready to talk, and when he is he will reach out," he said. "So, I will say to you, Chris, I apologize to you. My behavior was unacceptable, and I'm here whenever you're ready to talk."

Rock has been tight-lipped concerning the subject in public. His first comments came over the weekend while headlining stand-up shows in New York and New Jersey.

“Yeah, that s—t hurt, motherf—ker, but I shook that s—t off and went to work the next day,” Rock said.

He added, “I’m not a victim, motherf—ker. I don’t go to the hospital for a paper cut.”

Watch the full apology video embedded below.

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