‘I was going through something that night’: Will Smith blames Oscars outburst on ‘bottled rage’

Will Smith has spoken out about his controversial Oscars moment and has attributed his actions to long-repressed rage.

The actor slapped Chris Rock during this year’s Academy Awards ceremony after Rock made a controversial joke about his wife Jada Pinkett Smith’s shaved head.

Since then, the shocking moment has been one of the year’s biggest talking points, while Smith’s position in Hollywood has been under much public debate.

After apologising for the incident on his own YouTube channel as well as in via other interactions with the press, the King Richard star appeared on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah on Monday (28 November) to offer further insight into the moment.

The interview began with an acknowledgement of Smith’s absence from the public eye, with the actor quipping to the audience: “What have y’all been doing?”

Then, the pair began discussing his and Rock’s altercation. “That was a horrific night, as you can imagine,” Smith began, according to Variety.

“There’s many nuances and complexities to it. But at the end of the day, I just — I lost it, you know?

“I was going through something that night, you know? Not that that justifies my behaviour at all… It was a lot of things. It was the little boy that watched his father beat up his mother, you know? All of that just bubbled up in that moment. That is not who I want to be.”

Noah then offered his view on the situation. As well as mentioning his friendship with Rock and his belief that the conflict was handled poorly, Noah also poked fun at those who claimed Smith should have received a jail sentence for the act.

Will Smith appears on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah (Comedy Central)
Will Smith appears on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah (Comedy Central)

“A lot of Black people were like, ‘He should go to jail.’ Like, you need to relax yourself,” Noah said, to which Smith reacted with a laugh.

The actor then delved into the aftermath of the slap and having to face his loved ones after losing control in such a public forum.

“I was gone. That was a rage that had been bottled for a really long time,” Smith explained.

“My nephew is nine. He is the sweetest little boy. We came home. He had stayed up late to see his uncle Will and we are sitting in my kitchen and he is on my lap and he is holding the Oscar and he is just like, ‘Why did you hit that man, Uncle Will?’ Damn it. Why are you trying to Oprah me?”

Smith is currently promoting the Antoine Fuqua-directed film, Emancipation, in which he plays an enslaved man who escapes his captors in 19th-century Louisiana.

In another recent interview, he stated that he “completely understands” if viewers aren’t ready to see him in the film after his actions.