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So That's Why Will Smith Slapped Chris Rock

AP Photo/Chris Pizzello

In one of his first major interviews since the Oscars, Will Smith opened up about why he slapped comedian Chris Rock. 

“That was a horrific night as you can imagine,” the actor told “The Daily Show” host Trevor Noah after discussing his new film “Emancipation.”


While he said he was “going through something that night,” he declined to elaborate.

Looking at the audience, Smith said you never know what is happening in people's lives - someone could've just lost their job, a family member could have died recently, someone's child may be sick, or maybe someone else just found out their spouse is cheating. 

"I was going through something that night, not that that justifies my behavior that night at all," he said. “There’s many nuances and complexities to it, you know, but at the end of the day, I just—I lost it, you know?” 

“I was gone,” he said later in the interview. “That was a rage that had been bottled for a really long time.”

Smith walked on stage during the awards ceremony to slap Rock after he made a joke referencing his wife’s short hair. 

The 94th Academy Awards represented both a high and low point for Smith, whose assault on Rock overshadowed the first Oscar he won just minutes later.


He has since resigned from the Academy, apologized to Rock, and was hit with a 10-year ban from Oscars ceremonies for "unacceptable and harmful behavior."

“I think that was one of the big things for me over this last couple of months, that I had to forgive myself for being human," he said.

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