News, Culture & Society

Will Smith ‘completely understands’ if fans ‘aren’t ready’ to see Emancipation after Oscars slap

Will Smith has said he ‘completely understands’ if people are deterred from watching his new film Emancipation after his shocking Oscars slap in March.

The actor, 54, sent shockwaves around the world when he struck Chris Rock onstage after he made an ill-timed joke about Smith’s wife Jada Pinkett-Smith – with the star telling Fox 5’s Good Day DC he ‘respects’ if fans are not ready to see him onscreen.

He said: ‘I completely understand — if someone is not ready, I would absolutely respect that and allow them their space to not be ready.

Slap: Will Smith has said he ‘completely understands’ if people are deterred from watching his new film Emancipation after his shocking Oscars slap in March

The Seven Pounds actor added that he hopes his actions won’t negatively affect the team who have worked on the film, which is his first project since the slap.

He said: ‘My deepest concern is my team – Antoine [Fuqua] has done what I think is the greatest work of his entire career. 

‘The people on this team have done some of the best work of their entire careers, and my deepest hope is that my actions don’t penalize my team. At this point, that’s what I’m working for.’  

Emancipation is a historical thriller directed by Antoine Fuqua, in which the Fresh Prince actor stars as an enslaved man named Peter who escapes from a Louisiana plantation and braves treacherous territory and slave hunters to make it up north to Union territory, where he is able to join the fight against the Confederacy.

The film was inspired by the life of a former slave immortalized in horrifying photos of his back, which was covered in spiderwebbing keloid scars from repeated whippings.   

Film: Emancipation is a historical thriller directed by Antoine Fuqua, in which the Fresh Prince actor stars as an enslaved man named Peter

Film: Emancipation is a historical thriller directed by Antoine Fuqua, in which the Fresh Prince actor stars as an enslaved man named Peter

Following the shocking slap, Variety originally reported that Apple planned to delay the film until 2023 to let the controversy die down.

However, it is now set for a December 2 release in theaters, followed by a streaming release on Apple TV+ on December 9.

The streaming service may have still given up its plans of having a hit for awards season, as the film may lose out on potential profits due to the short theatrical window.

Independence Day star Smith has previously said he was left incensed by a joke Rock made about his wife’s lack of hair, which she shaved off to cover up hair loss she had experienced.  

Rock, who was hosting the show, joked that Smith’s wife Jada looked like ‘G.I. Jane’ because of her bald head. 

Smith stormed the stage and slapped Rock after fuming: ‘Keep my wife’s name out of your f*****g mouth.’ 

Despite sweeping the Oscars up in controversy, Smith still won the award for Best Actor for starring as the father of Venus and Serena Williams in King Richard. – but he did not specifically apologize to Rock.

Smith issued his first apology to Rock back in March. He posted a lengthy statement on Instagram where he said ‘violence in all its forms’ was wrong. 

Coming soon: The Seven Pounds actor added that he hopes his actions won't negatively affect the team who have worked on the film, which is his first project since the slap

Coming soon: The Seven Pounds actor added that he hopes his actions won’t negatively affect the team who have worked on the film, which is his first project since the slap

In July he issued another groveling apology to Rock and revealed his former friend still hasn’t forgiven him for slapping him on-stage at the Oscars. 

Smith said he’d taken the last three months to ‘work’ on himself and realized now  how many people he hurt when he smacked Rock on stage at the awards. 

‘I’ve reached out to Chris and the message that came back is that he’s not ready to talk when he is, he will reach out. So I will say to you, Chris, I apologize to you. My behavior was unacceptable and I’m here whenever you’re ready to talk.’ 

He also apologized to Rock’s mother and his entire family, specifically Rock’s mother and his younger brother Tony. 

‘I just didn’t realize how many people got hurt in that moment, so I want to apologize to Chris’s mother. I want to apologize.

‘I want to apologize to Tony Rock… Tony Rock was my man and this is probably irreparable,’ he said. 

He also apologized to Jada, his wife whose honor he claimed to be defending with the outburst, and said she had ‘nothing to do with it’.

‘I spent the last three months replaying and understanding the nuances and the complexities of what happened in that moment. 

‘I’m not going to try to unpack all of that right now but I can say to all of you,  there is no part of me that thinks that was the right way to behave in that moment. 

‘There is no part of me that thinks that’s the optimal way to handle a feeling of disrespect or insults.’

Joke: Independence Day star Smith has previously said he was left incensed by a joke Rock made about his wife's lack of hair, which she shaved off to cover up hair loss she had experienced (pictured March at the Oscars)

Joke: Independence Day star Smith has previously said he was left incensed by a joke Rock made about his wife’s lack of hair, which she shaved off to cover up hair loss she had experienced (pictured March at the Oscars) 

He went on to win Best Actor for his role in King Richard that night, but he did not specifically apologize to Rock. 

Insisting that his wife had nothing to do with the slap, he went on: ‘I made a choice of my own from my own experiences from my history with Chris. 

‘Jada had nothing to do with it. I’m sorry, babe. 

‘I want to say sorry to my kids and my family for the heat that I brought on all of us. 

‘To all my fellow nominees, this is a community. 

‘It’s like, I won because you voted for me and it breaks my heart to have stolen and tarnished your moment.’ 

Smith went on to claim that ‘disappointing people’ is his ‘central trauma’.

‘I can still see Questlove’s eyes. You know it happened on Questlove’s award. You know, it’s like. 

‘I’m sorry really isn’t sufficient. 

‘Disappointing people is my central trauma. I hate when I let people down so it hurts. 

‘It hurts me psychologically and emotionally to know I didn’t live up to people’s image and impression of me, and the work I am trying to do is I am deeply remorseful.

‘And I’m trying to be remorseful without being ashamed of myself. I’m human and I made a mistake and I’m trying not to think of myself as a piece of s**t.

‘I would say to those people I know it was confusing, I know it was shocking, but I promise you I am deeply devoted and committed to putting light and love and joy into the world. 

‘And, you know, if you hang on I promise we’ll be able to be friends again,’ he said to the fans he had let down.

Rock only recently addressed the controversy at a Madison Square Garden show, where he laughed it off. 

‘Anyone who says words hurt has never been punched in the face,’ he told the crowd. 

History: However, it is now set for a December 2 release in theaters, followed by a streaming release on Apple TV+ on December 9

History: However, it is now set for a December 2 release in theaters, followed by a streaming release on Apple TV+ on December 9

***
Read more at DailyMail.co.uk



Find local lawyers and law firms at USAttorneys.com