Will Smith opened up to Trevor Noah Monday night on The Daily Show about the infamous Oscars slap that occurred during the March ceremony. In promotion for his new film Emancipation, Smith described the night as “horrific” when he got on stage to slap Chris Rock.
“And I guess what I would say, you just never know what somebody is going through,” Smith said. “I was going through something that night. Not that that justifies my behavior at all.”
“And it’s like I understood the idea where they say ‘hurt people hurt people,'” he said. “That was a rage that had been bottled for a really long time.”
Noah brought up Smith’s memoir titled Will which was released prior to “the slap” but brought up the abuse he suffered as a child. “It was a lot of things,” Smith said in response. “It was the little boy that watched his father beat up his mother, you know. All of that just bubbled up in that moment.”
The day after the incident the actor apologized to Rock and everyone affected in an Instagram post.
“Violence in all of its forms is poisonous and destructive. My behavior at last night’s Academy Awards was unacceptable and inexcusable,” it read. “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 apologize 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 apologize to the Academy, the producers of the show, all the attendees and everyone watching around the world. I would like to apologize to the Williams Family and my King Richard Family. I deeply regret that my behavior has stained what has been an otherwise gorgeous journey for all of us. I am a work in progress.”
The actor’s actions got him banned from the Academy for 10 years.
Take a look at Smith’s interview with Noah below: