Will Smith's Mom Addresses His Uncharacteristic Oscars Slap

Getty / Robyn Beck

The 2022 Oscars took a turn on Sunday night when Will Smith slapped Chris Rock after the comedian’s insensitive joke about Jada Pinkett Smith’s buzzed haircut. In an interview on Tuesday with 6abc, Philadelphia’s local ABC affiliate, the actor’s mother, Carolyn Smith, addressed her son’s surprising reaction. “He is a very even, people person,” she said. “That’s the first time I’ve ever seen him go off. First time in his lifetime . . . I’ve never seen him do that.”

“That’s the first time I’ve ever seen him go off. First time in his lifetime.”

Smith went on to say the event doesn’t define him and, regardless, she’s proud of her son’s first Oscar win. “I know how he works, how hard he works,” she said. “I’ve been waiting and waiting and waiting. When I heard the name, I was just, ‘Yes!’ . . . I’m proud of him being him.” Ellen Smith, the actor’s younger sister, added, “I’ve had conversations with him, and it like really kind of broke my heart listening to the things he’s said he had to go through to get to where he is.”

During the Oscars telecast, the Smiths first appeared to laugh at Rock’s joke, which equated Pinkett Smith to Demi Moore in “G.I. Jane,” a film in which the protagonist shaves her head. (Pinkett Smith had previously been open about her experience with hair loss and alopecia.) Seconds later, however, Smith appeared on stage and slapped the comedian. “Keep my wife’s name out of your f*cking mouth,” Smith yelled twice after returning to his seat. Following the altercation, Smith won the best actor Oscar for his performance in “King Richard,” and in an emotional acceptance speech, he tearfully apologised to the Academy, his fellow nominees, and the cast and crew of the film.

Smith went on to release a statement via Instagram on Monday evening, publicly apologising to the Academy once again, as well as to Rock. “Violence in all of its forms is poisonous and destructive,” he wrote. “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.”

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