Elli-torial: And The Oscar For Best Apology Goes To…

On Monday during The Drew Show, Drew, myself, and comedian Danny Minch went over the now uploaded Will Smith apology video currently on Youtube. You can see what we thought about the apology and incident at our SoundCloud here:


This video is four months after the events of The Oscars and this has people wondering about the sincerity of the apology. I’ve decided to dive into this story and not only break down the video (link will be below) but also the lose-lose of apologizing publicly.


March 27, 2022.

A night that turned Will Smith’s life right upside. He got in one little fight and his publicist got scared and basically told him he’s gotta spend some time in Bel Air. All kidding aside it was a historical night for The Oscars. A lot of deserving stars had their moment to shine, at least most of them did. As Chris Rock hosted the event, delivering jokes during a monologue, he turned his attention toward Will and Jada Pinkett Smith. Chris made a G.I. Jane joke about Jada’s hair and lack thereof, much to her dismay. Will is actually seen on camera laughing at the joke. Nonetheless, the joke seemed, at the time, to be pretty mild and laughs were had. That was until Will Smith got up. Will silently walked up to the stage and WHACK. Will slapped the absolute hell out of Chris rock live on television in front of the world. To Chris’s credit not only did he champ it like a boss, but he proceeded to finish his hosting all while Will began cussing at him from his seat. The Oscars go to commercial and the audience is of course shaken. Minutes later music legend Questlove would be awarded his first Oscar for his work on ‘Summer of Love’ his documentary feature film. Sadly this was a bittersweet moment simply due to the fact that this came shortly after all of the drama that had just taken place. To add insult to injury for Chris Rock, Will would go on to win his first Oscar for best actor for his role in ‘King Richard.’ Now, this isn’t to say Will didn’t earn the award, but the whole situation was uncomfortable, to say the least. The show ended and the Smiths were found later that night at the after-party boogieing the night away.

The media was in a frenzy over this story the following month. Coverage of the incident was everywhere from news outlets to podcasts to radio stations (yes us too) to even Youtube breakdown videos. Most people bashed Will for his behavior while others praised him for standing up for Jada. The most concerning issue was and still is if this would inspire others to charge comedians if they didn’t like the jokes.

A prime example of this was the person that charged Dave Chappelle with a knife. They charged on stage, went in for a tackle, missed said tackle, and were immediately met intercepted by Dave’s security team, and potentially Dave. Thankfully, this has been one of the very few incidences of someone charging the stage. That said, Will Smith’s actions gave people the idea that it is okay to assault a comedian simply if you don’t like their jokes. Before we move on let me remind you what happened to the person that assaulted Dave Chappelle. To say they were folded like a lawn chair is an understatement. Lawn furniture aside, it’s time we finally address the apology.

July 29, 2022.

On Will Smith’s Youtube page, a video titled “It’s Been A Minute…,” was uploaded. The almost six-minute video shows Will sitting alone and addressing his frequently asked questions. Now I think a lot of us know that Will Smith is a good guy who just had a moment of weakness and most likely had a lot of emotions boiling until they all spilled out. That said, the questions and his verbiage feel, slightly off. The first question goes as followed: “Why didn’t you apologize to Chris after your acceptance speech?” Will goes on to say that he was in a fog and that everything was still fuzzy, which makes perfect sense. The dude literally in a fit of rage slapped a man live on television and then moments later win his first academy award, his emotions must’ve been on maximum overload through all that. Where the first issue, at least for me, is his apology to Chris. Will states that he has reached out to Chris but that he will speak to Will when he is ready. That is when Will officially apologizes to Chris. “I apologize to you,” those are his exact words. Is saying sorry really that hard here? Saying “I apologize” sounds robotic and honestly insincere. It felt like he read his response off a card, which could be the case. Now, Will does sound sincere, so I want to give him the benefit of the doubt. BUT, if he had just said “Chris I’m sorry” that would have resonated way more than his actual apology. Will continues to apologize to Tony, Chris’s brother, his fans, and Questlove for basically ruining his moment of glory which looks and feels as if he is really sorry, about that at least. There was also another question that got brought up that has a lot of us speculating the validity of his answer.

“After Jada rolled her eyes, did she tell you to do something?” Arguably the most important question asked outside of the apology. Will says emphatically that his actions were his own decisions and that all the responsibility should land on him, and rightfully so. Now I tend to believe him on this but to a point. If you weren’t aware Jada and Will have an interesting relationship, to say the least. Jada has gone on record talking about past relationships and often romanticized them compared to her CURRENT RELATIONSHIP WITH WILL. Seeing Will basically broke down after she told him about the “entanglement” with August Alsina. The pain that was in Will’s eyes when she spoke those words said it all. They broke him. Regardless of their situation and what’s said behind closed doors, hearing about your significant other’s “entanglements” would crush any of us. She might not have said anything to Will at The Oscars, but it felt that possibly trauma from their relationship is partially why Will finally snapped. After this, Will goes on to answer another question about how he’s viewed differently now and he again apologizes for the pain he’s caused. The whole video has me conflicted on a handful of issues. This could just be me nitpicking, and it probably is, but it leads to my next question. Was it even a good idea to apologize in the first place?

Public apologies seem like the right thing to do from the outside looking in, but all it really does is mix up how people view you even more. The people that wanted you to apologize will look into every detail to determine if you were genuine or not while the other half that thought you were in the right immediately feel like you left them hanging. Sure you can at least say “I apologized so everyone knows I tried,” but you know what goes a long way? Squashing the beef privately. Get away from the drama, the noise of the media, and Youtube trolls, just you and the person you wronged. Sit down, say your piece, actually say sorry, and try to move on after. When you set to apologize in a public way like a corny Youtube video, you set yourself up for a lose-lose situation. Half of them find it hard to believe, while the other half can’t believe you compromised and admitted guilt. No matter what you say or try to convey, you’re still gonna look bad.

Will Smith’s apology showed him sitting in what seemed to be an empty room with just a camera and his emotions. He finally apologized to Chris Rock and to the people he has hurt through his actions. As much as I love Will as an actor and believe that he is a good man down to his core, watching this felt very self-serving. A way to show his fans that he reached out for the sake of reaching out while trying to save his public image. Maybe if this apology came out earlier, rather than four months after the event. I think at the end of the day, this is a reminder of how far the word SORRY can go.

I’m sorry > I apologize.