“There’s many nuances and complexities to it,” Smith mentioned, “but at the end of the day, I just — I lost it.”
“I was going through something that night,” he admitted, although he didn’t specify what it was. “Not that that justifies my behavior at all.”
Smith has saved comparatively quiet within the months since he climbed onstage through the 94th Academy Awards and slapped Rock after the comic made a joke about actress Jada Pinkett Smith, Smith’s spouse, that hinged on her shaved head. The actress has spoken about her struggles with alopecia, or hair loss. Smith walked as much as Rock and slapped him throughout the face. After he sat down, he yelled: “Keep my wife’s name out your f—ing mouth.”
Smith’s violent act turned the focus of the ceremony, however that night time was additionally a spotlight of his profession, because the actor took residence his first Oscar — greatest actor — for enjoying Richard Williams, father of tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams, in “King Richard.”
Smith publicly apologized for his actions within the days following, and since then. “The list of those I have hurt is long and includes Chris, his family, many of my dear friends and loved ones, all those in attendance, and global audiences at home,” he mentioned in an April assertion announcing his resignation from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Rock has touched on the incident in his comedy exhibits however has mentioned he’ll fully address it when he is ready.
The Academy referred to as Smith’s conduct “unacceptable and harmful” and banned him from attending any of its events — together with the Academy Awards — for the subsequent 10 years.
Now, Smith is again — a minimum of, on display screen. He is selling his new movie, “Emancipation,” which comes out in some theaters Friday and on Apple TV+ on Dec. 9. He stars as an enslaved particular person combating to flee Louisiana after Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation.
In Monday’s roughly 20-minute “Daily Show” interview, Smith addressed the controversy over his actions on the Oscars — and what the fallout has been like.
“It’s been a while since many people have seen you,” Noah instructed Smith as he sat down.
“I’ve been away,” Smith answered with a smile.
The interview acquired emotional at instances, with Smith shedding tears as he talked about his 9-year-old nephew, who waited as much as watch the ceremony that night time.
As Smith tells it, after he returned from the ceremony, his nephew was sitting on his lap, holding his Oscar, when he requested, “Why did you hit that man, Uncle Will?”
“That’s not who I want to be,” Smith mentioned.
“I had to humble down and realize that I’m a flawed human,” he mentioned, reflecting on the previous few months.
During the interview, the actor touched on, however by no means totally spelled out, the explanations for his emotional outburst that night time. “That was a rage that had been bottled for a really long time,” he mentioned.
“It was a lot of things. It was the little boy that watched his father beat up his mother. All of that just bubbled up in that moment,” Smith added. The actor has written in his memoir about his father’s violence and alcoholism.
The viewers appeared conscious of Smith’s mea culpa, clapping and cheering usually, whereas Noah made an impassioned case that the slap was “not who you are.” The first half of the interview was devoted to a dialogue about “Emancipation,” which Smith mentioned he hoped audiences would nonetheless watch, even when they disapproved of his actions, due to the significance of the story it tells and due to the work the manufacturing workforce — significantly director Antoine Fuqua — put into it.
“I just hope that their work will be honored and their work will not be tainted based on a horrific decision on my part,” he mentioned.
Smith made related feedback in clips of an interview with FOX 5 DC launched earlier Monday. “My deepest hope is that my actions don’t penalize my team,” Smith mentioned. “I’m hoping that the material, the power of the film, the timeliness of the story … would open people’s hearts at a minimum to see and recognize and support the incredible artists.”
Still, he mentioned, if “someone is not ready [to watch the film], I would absolutely respect that.”
Sonia Rao contributed to this report.