Today is July 29, the day Beyoncé dropped her new album, Renaissance—an album she told us would be coming out today, over a month ago. Everyone knew that today was going to be Beyoncé’s day. Everyone, except for one man: Will Smith.
Smith—who infamously slapped Chris Rock onstage at the Oscars in March, making the night all about him—apparently decided that today was the best day to, once again, apologize, for slapping Chris Rock onstage at the Oscars in March and to try to make the day all about him. Upstage the Oscars, shame on you. Upstage Beyoncé and, well, I’ll let the Beyhive fill that in themselves.
On Friday morning, Smith posted a nearly-six-minute apology video on, of all places, Facebook. (I guess when your wife hosts a talk show on baby boomers’ favorite website, you have no choice.) To Smith’s teeny, tiny credit, this is his second apology: He posted an apology on Instagram a few days after the slap, saying, “I would like to publicly apologize to you, Chris. I was out of line and I was wrong”—which really just makes the decision to post another apology about it today even more confusing.
The video opens with text reading, “It’s been a minute... Over the last few months, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and personal work...You asked a lot of fair questions that I wanted to take some time to answer.” A deep, audible sigh is the bizarre soundtrack for this statement.
Smith then enters the set, which weirdly evokes a therapist’s waiting room. There’s a trendy bookshelf, some leafy trees, and a framed picture with the words “The World Is Sick Love Is The Cure,” that looks like it was finger-painted by Jaden. We never learn where Smith is or why he’s there.
“Why didn’t you apologize to Chris in your acceptance speech,” Smith says loudly, in such a weirdly phonetic way that I thought he was asking someone else that question. But no, he was just setting the stage in the most jarring way possible.
“Um, I was fogged out by that point,” he answers himself. “It’s all fuzzy.”
The rest of the apology is fine. Why it took Smith “a few months” to really, really learn that it’s wrong to storm a stage to slap someone after they made a questionable joke is a great question that I’m sure his therapist is getting paid a ton of money to answer. In the video, he apologizes to Rock, Rock’s mom, Rock’s family, Smith’s own family, his kids, Tony Rock (Chris Rock’s younger brother), his fellow Oscar nominees, and Questlove. He did not apologize to me, or you or anyone else for having to relive all of this. Most notably of all, he did not apologize to Beyoncé.
His last question to himself was, “What would you say to the people who looked up to you before the slap or people who expressed that you let them down?”
Disappointing people is my central trauma. I hate when I let people down. So it hurts it hurts me psychologically and emotionally to know that I didn’t live up to people’s image and impression of me. And the work I’m 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 shit. So I would say to those people. I know it was confusing. I know it was shocking. 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.
Good for Smith for being a middle-aged man who’s finally starting to do the bare minimum of work on himself—though I’d like to tell him: As you go through many more big emotional arcs on this therapeutic journey, please keep your hands to yourself at all times.
But seriously, we fucking get it. You made a mistake. It was weird. You’re kind of a piece of shit, but there are definitely way bigger pieces of shit than you. It’s fine. Please, please, please don’t apologize at us anymore. There are bigger things happening. Stream Beyoncé and move on.