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Will Smith apologizes to Chris Rock for slapping him at the Academy Awards

Smith said he was sorry after the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences said it had "started a formal review around the incident."
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Will Smith apologized to Chris Rock on Monday for slapping him at the Academy Awards on Sunday night, saying in a statement that he was "out of line" and "embarrassed."

"Violence in all of its forms is poisonous and destructive," Smith said in a message posted Monday night on Instagram. "My behavior at last night’s Academy Awards was unacceptable and inexcusable."

"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 added.

Smith slapped Rock after the stand-up comedian made a joke about the appearance of Smith's wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. He then returned to his seat in the Dolby Theatre and shouted: “Keep my wife’s name out of your f-----g mouth!”

Smith said he was sorry hours after the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences released a statement saying it “condemns the actions of Mr. Smith at last night’s show.”

“We have officially started a formal review around the incident and will explore further action and consequences in accordance with our bylaws, standards of conduct and California law," it said.

Smith drew scrutiny Sunday because he did not directly apologize to Rock when he accepted the best actor Oscar for his role in "King Richard," a portrait of Venus and Serena Williams' father.

"I would like to publicly apologize to you, Chris. I was out of line and I was wrong," Smith said in his statement Monday. "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."

94th Academy Awards - Show
Chris Rock and Will Smith onstage at the show Academy Awards in Los Angeles on Sunday.Myung Chun / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Smith repeated his apology to the film academy, as well as "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," he said.

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"I am a work in progress," he said in closing.

The encounter stunned the audience in the Dolby Theatre and set off a frenzy of conversation on social media.

Rock kept his composure after he was slapped, joking that it was the “greatest night in the history of television.” He declined to press charges, the Los Angeles Police Department said.