Smith on Sunday night's Academy Awards ceremony got onstage and slapped Rock after the comedian made a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith's baldness; Pinkett Smith has publicly spoken about having alopecia. Later that evening, Smith apologized to the Academy and his fellow nominees during his acceptance speech after winning Best Actor, but he did not apologize to Rock.
On Monday, the actor released a statement on Instagram making his remorse explicit, while also explaining again that he had wanted to stand up for his wife.
"Violence in all of its forms is poisonous and destructive. My behavior at last night’s Academy Awards was unacceptable and inexcusable," he said. "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."
Smith went on speak to Rock directly.
"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," he said. "There is no place for violence in a world of love and kindness.
The Academy earlier on Monday announced that it had launched a formal review of the incident and whether Smith's behavior went against its standards of conduct. Rock has so far declined to file a police report, so the matter is not part of any criminal investigation, the Los Angeles Police Department said.
In his statement, Smith also apologized to the Williams family for the distraction his behavior had caused during a major moment for them: his Best Actor win for playing Serena and Venus Williams' father in the biopic King Richard."I deeply regret that my behavior has stained what has been an otherwise gorgeous journey for all of us," he said.
"I am a work in progress."