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Will Smith apologizes for striking Chris Rock at the Oscars

Actor Will Smith slaps comedian Chris Rock
AP/Chris Pizzello

Oscar-winning actor Will Smith released a public apology on Monday after slapping comedian Chris Rock during Sunday night’s Academy Awards.

In a statement posted to his official Instagram and Facebook accounts, Smith condemned his own behavior, calling it “unacceptable and inexcusable.”

Smith made headlines and set social media ablaze after he took to the stage and hit Rock after the comedian made a joke about his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. Minutes later, the “King Richard” star won the Oscar for best actor.

“I would like to publicly apologize to you, Chris,” Smith wrote, adding that violence of any kind is inexcusable.

“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,” he added.

Smith also apologized to the academy, show producers, attendees, his castmates, television viewers, and the family of tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams, on whom “King Richard” is based.

“I deeply regret that my behavior has stained what has been an otherwise gorgeous journey for all of us,” he wrote.

Reached for further comment, Smith’s publicist pointed to his statement on social media, which is the first time he has apologized to Rock since the altercation. During his acceptance speech Sunday night, Smith apologized for his actions but didn’t address the comedian directly.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the group that heads up the Oscars, said on Monday it would open a “formal review” into the incident.

Its announcement comes after the Los Angeles Police Department noted earlier Monday that Rock had declined to file a police report.

—Updated at 8:56 p.m.

Tags Academy Awards apology Chris Rock Jada Pinkett Smith King Richard Oscars oscars slap Oscars smack Will Smith

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