'The first time I've ever seen him go off': Will Smith's mum speaks out on Oscars slap

29 March 2022, 08:13

Will Smith's mother said his shocking attack on Chris Rock at the Oscars was out of character
Will Smith's mother said his shocking attack on Chris Rock at the Oscars was out of character. Picture: Alamy/Getty

By Megan Hinton

Will Smith's mother said his shocking attack on Chris Rock at the Oscars was out of character as he is a "very even, people person".

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Carolyn Smith, 85, dressed up to sit at home and watch the Academy Awards, in the hope her son would finally be awarded with Oscar, but was shocked when the events of the night unfolded.

Smith, who won Best Actor for his role in King Richard, slapped Rock after the comedian made a joke about his wife Jada Pinkett Smith's hair loss.

Speaking about the incident Carolyn Smith told Action News: "He is a very even, people person.

"That's the first time I've ever seen him go off. First time in his lifetime. I've never seen him do that."

Will spoke to his mother on Monday after the dramatic event and Carolyn said she advised him to go on holiday to get some rest as the controversy blows over.

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Watch slow-motion clip of Will Smith slapping Chris Rock at the Oscars

Will Smith has since apologised to Chris Rock for slapping him at the Oscars after organisers condemned it, admitting he was "out of line and wrong".

Senior figures at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences are said to have called for him to be stripped of his award, reportedly entering "crisis mode" as their prestigious movie ceremony was thrown into turmoil.

Smith wrote on his Instagram page: "Violence in all its forms is poisonous and destructive.

"My behaviour at last night's Academy Awards was unacceptable and inexcusable. Jokes at my expense are a part of the job, but a joke about Jada's medical condition was too much for me to bear and I reacted emotionally.

"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. There is no place for violence in a world of love and kindness.

"I would also like to apologize to the Academy, the producers of the show, all the attendees and everyone watching around the world.

"I would like to apologize to the Williams Family and my King Richard Family. I deeply regret that my behaviour has stained what has been an otherwise gorgeous journey for all of us.

"I am a work in progress."

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His statement followed the Academy's, which said: "The Academy condemns the actions of Mr Smith at last night's show.

"We have officially started a formal review around the incident and will explore further action and consequences in accordance with our Bylaws, Standards of Conduct and California law."

The incident overshadowed a night which saw Coda, which features a predominantly deaf cast, named best picture, while Troy Kotsur made history as the first deaf male actor to win a gong.

Sir Kenneth Branagh won the best original screenplay prize for his semi-autobiographical film Belfast.

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Rock had compared Smith's wife - who suffers from the medical condition alopecia - to "GI Jane".

The Magic Mike XXL star and Red Table Talk host has previously spoken about her struggles with alopecia and said it is what prompted her to shave her head.

Referring to Pinkett Smith's buzzcut, Rock said: "Jada, can't wait for GI Jane 2," prompting the actress to roll her eyes. However, Smith walked up on stage and hit Rock before returning to his seat and shouting twice: "Keep my wife's name out of your f****** mouth."

The altercation left Rock shocked and flustered as he tried to resume presenting the best documentary feature category.