Will Smith apologises to Williams sisters after 'staining gorgeous journey' with Oscars slap

By Sports Desk March 29, 2022

Will Smith has apologised to Serena and Venus Williams and their family, as well as Chris Rock, after his on-stage slap aimed at the comedian marred an Academy Award win.

The Williams sisters were at the Oscars in Los Angeles on Sunday to see Smith win Best Actor for his portrayal of their father Richard in the biopic King Richard.

However, before Smith took to the stage to collect his award, he was involved in the major flashpoint of the night and one of the most remarkable incidents in Academy Awards history.

Smith stormed the stage when Rock, while presenting Best Documentary Feature, made a joke about his wife Jada Pinkett Smith.

Rock appeared to make a comment on Pinkett Smith's hair, which prompted Smith – after originally smiling at the joke – to take to the stage and strike the comedian before telling him to "keep my wife's name out your f***ing mouth".

Smith returned to his seat and was allowed to remain in attendance for the rest of the ceremony, giving a lengthy and emotional acceptance speech in which he apologised to The Academy.

Almost 24 hours past before Smith took to his Instagram page to address the issue again, explaining he took offence to a remark apparently related to his wife's alopecia but also again apologising – including to the Williams family.

"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.

"I would like to publicly apologise 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 apologise to The Academy, the producers of the show, all the attendees and everyone watching around the world.

"I would like to apologise 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."

In her own post on Sunday, Serena Williams had seemingly sought only to address Smith's success at the Oscars.

"This night has been surreal," she wrote. "To spend it sitting next to my sisters meant more than anything.

"I am so grateful to The Academy for making this an unforgettable night, and to Will Smith for bringing this story to the big screen and honouring my family. This will always be a night to remember."

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