If Will Smith’s apology tour for his Oscar night slap is any indication, this guy has lost 100% of his trademark charm and cool. If you’ll recall (as if I have to remind anyone), Smith slapped Chris Rock on the Oscars stage after Rock made a joke about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, and her hair. To his apparent shock, the world is mostly on Chris Rock’s side, and Smith now has an image to rehabilitate. To that end, he’s made a video answering “a lot of fair questions” about the incident – three, to be exact. You can see it below:
Is that not one of the most self-satisfied pieces of insincere nonsense you’ve ever seen? Smith comes off as annoyed that he feels he has to do this and wishing everyone would just get over it already. Let’s take a look at the questions:
“Why didn’t you apologize to Chris in your acceptance speech?”
It was partly because a roomful of his peers were cheering for him and didn’t seem all that bothered by his actions. This, I think, is why he’s annoyed at making the video; Will Smith and many others in Hollywood are constantly surrounded by people who treat them like royalty (the exception being his wife). I imagine he’s stupefied that people think he should apologize for anything. And his answer to this is pretty scummy; he puts the onus on Chris Rock to reach out to him if he wants a personal apology, all the while ostensibly apologizing to Rock, his mother, and his brother – but this is for the benefit of the audience, not the Rocks. If he wants to apologize to Chris Rock, he should do so, and if Rock doesn’t want to talk to him, well, them’s the breaks. An apology is not supposed to be about you, but Will Smith sure made this one all about himself.
“After Jada rolled her eyes, did she tell you to do something?”
The eyeroll itself is what told him to do something – or, rather, was what prompted him to do something. We’ve all seen the video; Smith laughed heartily at Rock’s joke, but then he saw that his wife was displeased. I don’t think she was intentionally telling him to act; she’s just an arrogant celebrity who’s angry that anyone would dare make a joke about her. But I think Will Smith took it as his cue to prove himself to her. Many have written about this since the slap, but it’s pretty well known that the Smiths have an open marriage, and it’s clear as day in that infamous video that Will Smith isn’t happy about it. He had a “M’lady” opportunity that he seized, and it backfired big time. This is the most understandable part of the video, but it has to hurt that he’s still groveling to this awful woman.
“What would you say to the people who looked up to you before the slap or people who expressed that you let them down?”
Smith’s answer to this quickly becomes self-serving. “I want to be remorseful without being ashamed of myself.” Yeah, we get it; you still think you’re awesome. But, as with his response to the first question, he once more puts the brunt of the work on others, this time his fans. “I’m trying not to think of myself as a piece of shit.” Everyone else is picking on poor Will, you see. “I know it was confusing; I know it was shocking.” You dopey rubes are just too simple-minded to understand it, and you need your hand held by one of your celebrity betters. “If you hang on, I know we can be friends again.” Keep seeing my movies, and we’ll get through this together.
I get that the apology tour is one of the modern era’s most ridiculous empty spectacles, and I don’t envy anyone having to navigate it. But this was a complete misfire, and I don’t think it will do him any favors. What Will Smith needs to do more than anything is just go away for a little while and let people get over it on their own. In a few years, maybe the people who are completely turned off by him now will want to see him in a movie again. When that happens, from a public relations standpoint, he should stick to movie press tours. Questions about the slap will inevitably come up, and he should be (or fake being) sincere and apologetic, but not to a nauseating degree, and not in a way that makes him a hero or a victim, which is what this video does. Jesus, the guy made it through Wild Wild West with his charm intact; he should be able to figure this out for himself.