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HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 27: Will Smith accepts the Actor in a Leading Role award for ‘King Richard’ onstage during the 94th Annual Academy Awards at Dolby Theatre on March 27, 2022 in Hollywood, California.

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:

Will Smith: 10 Of His Films That Are Classics

  • The Pursuit of Happyness, 2006

    The Pursuit of Happyness is a film about triumph, determination, and courage. In the film, Will plays alongside his real-life son Jaden Smith as a single father looking to finally be financially stable for his son. Set in ’80s San Francisco, Will plays the role of Chris Garner, who is hopeful at the end of his unpaid internship as a stockbroker that he will be able to secure a more stable environment for his son. For this role, Will was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role and Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role at the Screen Actors Guild Awards per IMBD. You can stream The Pursuit of Happyness on Hulu, YouTube, Apple TV+, and Amazon Prime.

  • Hitch, 2005

    Smith plays the character Hitch in a rom-com about a man who falls in love with a journalist, played by Eva Mendes. He also helps his friend played by Kevin James, grab the attention of a beautiful heiress played by Amber Valletta. This role showed off how well Smith is as a comedic actor in film just as much as he is a dramatic one. You can stream Hitch on Hulu, YouTube, Apple TV+, and Amazon Prime.

  • Bad Boys (franchise), 1995, 2003, 2020

    Comedy and action duo Will Smith and Martin Lawerence started the first installation of the Bad Boys franchise, playing two detectives that are protecting a witness to a murder. Fans couldn’t give enough of the Smith/Lawerence combo and greenlit two more films, creating Smith’s first break as a franchise actor. The duo made headlines last year with their third installment releasing nearly 17 years after the sequel. However, the bad boys aren’t done, as Sony Studios has tapped the two for an additional film, per The Hollywood Reporter. There is no set release date as of now. You can stream the Bad Boys franchise on Hulu, YouTube, Apple TV+, and Amazon Prime.

  • Men in Black (franchise), 1997, 2002, 2012

    This sci-fi action film grabbed Will as their leading man playing an NYPD officer investigating extraterrestrial activity. Iconic scenes include Smith fighting with a giant cockroach and the “alien birth” scene. Will plays alongside Tommy Lee Jones, offering comedy and action-packed thrill. You can stream the Men in Black franchise on YouTube, Apple TV+, and Amazon Prime Video.

  • Ali, 2001

    In the Muhammed Ali biopic, Will showed his acting abilities for a more serious role. Ali focused on the life of professional boxer Muhammad Ali from 1964 to 1974 through his heavyweight champion title and political stances. Smith starred in the film alongside Jamie Foxx and Jon Voight. Smith and Voight were both nominated for Oscars for their roles. You can stream Ali on Starz, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and Apple TV+.

  • Hancock, 2008

    Smith plays the superhero Hancock who has a “don’t care” attitude and doesn’t think too much about what others think of him. His perspective changed when he goes out to save Ray and Mary Embrey played by Jason Bateman and Charlize Theron. Smith won the “Best Actor” award at the 2008 BET Awards for his role. You can stream Hancock on YouTube, Apple TV+, and Amazon Prime Video.

  • I Am Legend, 2007

    I Am Legend is a sci-fi fantasy film based in New York City where Smith is a survivor of a plague that kills most of humanity. The film stars Alice Braga, Charlie Tahan, Salli Richardson, and Smith’s daughter Willow Smith. He won an MTV award for Best Male Performance in 2008. A sequel to the film was announced back in March 2022 and it is rumored that Michael B. Jordan is set to star alongside Smith. You can stream I Am Legend on YouTube, Apple TV+, and Amazon Prime Video.

  • Independence Day, 1996

    This sci-fi thriller is most notably known for its impressive visual effects and sound as it won the 1997 Oscar for Best Visual Effects and a Grammy award the same year for Best Instrumental Composition Written for a Motion Picture or for Television. Smith also has a stand-out performance as Captain Steve Hiller who fights to save mankind from an alien invasion. Alongside Smith, the film stars Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman, Vivica A. Fox, and more. You can stream Independence Day on Starz, YouTube, Amazon Prime Video, and Apple TV+.

  • Six Degrees of Separation, 1993

    Six Degrees of Separation was one of Smith’s first larger films starring opposite Stockard Channing and Donald Sutherland. Channing and Sutherland play a New York couple that can’t seem to shake Will’s character, Paul, from their mind. Based on a play by John Guare, it follows the theory that everyone can be linked through just six social ties. You can stream Six Degrees of Separation on Amazon Prime Video and Apple TV+.

  • Enemy of the State, 1998

    In Enemy of the State Smith plays a lawyer that becomes the target of a corrupt politician’s game after receiving classified information. Smith plays alongside Gene Hackman, who plays an ex-FBI agent, and Jon Voight who is the corrupt NSA official. Will was nominated for Best Male Performance at the 1999 MTV Awards. You can stream Enemy of the State on Hulu, Apple TV+, Amazon Prime Video, and YouTube.

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