After Will Smith slapped Chris Rock at the 94th Academy Awards, average internet users and trolls alike started memeing the event into oblivion. A lot of backlash was levied towards Smith over the following 24 hours, and it appears he must've heard it. Last night, he posted an official apology letter to Facebook over the incident.
In the letter, Smith started by condemning violence, stating that his behavior was, "unacceptable and inexcusable." He then admitted jokes aimed at him are "part of the job" but those directed at his wife's medical condition make him emotional. Midway through, he namedropped Chris Rock, apologizing to him directly, as well as to the entirety of the Academy Awards. He ended the letter by saying, "I am a work in progress."
Screenshots of Will Smith's apology spread to multiple platforms going into today. On Twitter, many users voiced their viewpoints on the statement. However, a lot of people did not take his letter seriously with many unearthing the video of Smith dancing with his Oscar post-ceremony. One Twitter user stated, "The Publicists have spoken… but #WillSmith already showed how sorry he was."
The Publicists have spoken (but #WillSmith already showed how sorry he was).
— CHUNTERKAP (@chunterkap) March 28, 2022
— Dick Clark (@SureThen) March 28, 2022
Will Smith’s apology to Chris Rock is Insincere and disingenuous.
— TheLeoTerrell (@TheLeoTerrell) March 29, 2022
Others who believed Smith was "insincere and disingenuous" in his apology cited his Oscar acceptance speech in which he only apologized to the Academy and his fellow nominees over Chris Rock. Another image from the night also emerged, of Rock standing at the end of the stage near Smith, awaiting an apology or at least some form of acknowledgment. However, Denzel Washington instead stood there calming the tension between the two celebrities.
Here's Will Smith's tearful acceptance speech at the #Oscars. https://t.co/ulvT7fsB57 pic.twitter.com/Uq2krBbBld
— Variety (@Variety) March 28, 2022
This picture is Cold 🥶🥶
- it was taken immediately after the slap.
- Chris Rock waiting on an apology.
- Jada telling will Smith to go back and slap him again..
- Denzel Washington trying to calm the situation.. pic.twitter.com/WjMH6vqnLB
— Oyiga Micheal (@Nsukka_okpa) March 28, 2022
There were also more humorous reactions to Smith's apology letter, based on memes instead of outrage. For instance, a couple of Twitter users decided to exploit the Young Thug and Lil Durk Troubleshooting meme to demonstrate how Smith's publicist possibly "ghostwrote" the letter. Others referenced Travis Scott's infamous apology video after the Astroworld disaster.
Marcus Rashford trying to help Will Smith write his apology tweet pic.twitter.com/p4lrmhXBxV
— Footymemes.21 (@footymemes21) March 28, 2022
Rashford and Bruno Fernandes helping Will Smith Write His Apology Tweet pic.twitter.com/zjmhRxEAJ9
— 🤩🇨🇴²³ (@LuisDiazzler) March 28, 2022
Will Smith’s apology tomorrow: pic.twitter.com/rOjo3rvBHE
— XO.Nick (@LovesteinCCCI) March 28, 2022
Meme creators on Instagram also decided to re-edit the apology letter, pretending that Will Smith's final sentiments were wackier than previously imagined. For instance, meme creator @shitheadsteve made an especially viral one.
Although the discourse surrounding this event has been fast-paced, it seems the story is still developing. Going into the rest of the year, it will be interesting to witness how the two men interact, as well as how the internet reacts.
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