"Violence in all of its forms is poisonous and destructive," Smith began. "My behavior at last night’s Academy Awards was unacceptable and inexcusable."
Smith shocked the Dolby Theatre crowd and viewers at home when he took the stage during Rock's remarks after the comedian made a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith, Smith's wife. Rock said, “Jada, I love you. ‘G.I. Jane 2,’ can’t wait to see it.”
The joke touched a nerve. Pinkett Smith, whose head is shaved, has spoken publicly about her alopecia diagnosis. Smith strode on stage and slapped Rock across the face. Back in his seat, Smith twice shouted for Rock to “get my wife’s name out your (expletive) mouth.”
"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 continued.
"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."
Minutes after the incident, Smith won the Oscar for Best Actor for his portrayal of Richard Williams, father of tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams," in "King Richard."
"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 Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences condemned Smith's onstage assault and said it would launch an inquiry into it.