Will Smith Gives First Interview on 'Horrific Night' at Oscars

Actor talks about 'the slap' with Trevor Noah: 'I just, I lost it'
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 29, 2022 6:54 AM CST

Chris Rock hasn't spoken much, other than a few jokes, on "the slap"—the moment at the Oscars ceremony earlier this year when Will Smith attacked the comedian. Smith, however, is now speaking more openly about it, in his first interview about what he describes as a "horrific night," reports the BBC. The 54-year-old actor spoke Monday with Trevor Noah on The Daily Show, noting that "a rage that had been bottled for a really long time" was behind the March incident with Rock, and that "at the end of the day, I just, I lost it," per the Hollywood Reporter.

"It's hard," Smith told Noah. "And ... I took my hard and made it hard for other people." He added: "I understood the idea when they say hurt people hurt people." Smith hinted at past traumas that emerged that night and affected his behavior—"it was the little boy that watched his father beat up his mother, all of that just bubbled up in that moment"—and noted that "I was going through something that night," though he didn't specify what.

Noah, who acknowledged he's known Smith for a long time, told Smith that while what he did wasn't right, he thinks the Will Smith who attacked Chris Rock at the awards ceremony isn't who he really is, and that he just made a mistake—perhaps an overreaction to the world being "relentlessly s---ty." When the audience cheered in support of Smith, the actor teared up. "That's not who I want to be, man," he told his friend. Then, dabbing at his eyes with a tissue: "Now I'm crying for real, OK?" Watch their entire interview here, which includes Smith talking about his upcoming film, Emancipation, which is already drawing Oscars buzz. (Read more Will Smith stories.)

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