In what has been branded the "most insane" moment in Oscars history, when the King Richard actor took to the stage after the comedian said to the star's wife: "Jada, I love you. GI Jane 2, can’t wait to see it,” making reference to her bald head.
Smith slapped Rock across the face. When he returned to his seat, he yelled “keep my wife’s name out your f**king mouth," prompting US broadcaster, ABC, to cut the audio for about 15 seconds.
The 53-year-old has since turned to Instagram with a lengthy public apology for Rock.
He called out violence as "poisonous and destructive," before condemning his behaviour as "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," he explained.
"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," Smith penned before going on to apologise to the Academy, producers, attendees and viewers.
People are still furious regardless of the statement. Some social media users highlighted that he could have addressed Rock during his acceptance speech for Best Actor.
“I want to apologise to the Academy, I want to apologise to all my fellow nominees," he said with no mention or apology for Rock.
Heard Will Smith has apologized to Chris Rock now. \n\nHe should\u2019ve done that on stage when he was rendering apologies. \n\nApologizing to the Academy and audience but the actual person you smacked, was so distasteful to watch.
That Will Smith apology is pathetic. The man slapped someone on stage, partied all night and in his own words "chose chaos" and somehow his "apology" which is PR team wrote is enough? ..Will Smith is a cuck, simp and a pussy for attacking a man half his size. Fuck Will Smith.
@AnaKasparian what irks me is that the Smiths feel like they're untouchable. They aren't do important that everyone on the planet is supposed to know their personal sensitivities. It seems like Will has a god complex. Chris deserves an in person, public apology.
Will Smith released an apology. The Academy made a statement condemning the assault. The Academy told the media not to ask celebrities at the Oscar party about the slap. I can understand a level of distrust of Hollywood but cmon
The news reporting that Will Smith has apologised directly to Chris Rock.... \nNo he hasn't... He's mentioned his name in an instagram post. \nThat, in my eyes is not a direct apology. \nNot that he needs to anyway.
I don't care about his hollow apology. It's will Smith. His public image has been cultivated over three decades. He knows many people, myself included, thinks he is an asshole now. He is doing damage control. Too late.
— Prince Dorian LeFaye (He/Him/Geek) (@Prince Dorian LeFaye (He/Him/Geek))
Will Smith drops apology signed off with \u201cI\u2019m a work in progress\u201d\n\nThe @SteveBartlettSC podcast team \u2026pic.twitter.com/OTxOlnaQe0