What’s The Value Of An Apology? Will Smith Found Out!

Will Smith’s Apology Video

Will Smith recently made a fulsome YouTube apology to Chris Rock for the humiliating slap he meted out to the comedian on the night of the 2022 Academy Awards. That slap eclipsed so many people’s achievements, very few of us would realise what an amazing event it was for women and diverse talent. 

For a start, Jessica Chastain won Best Actress for The Eyes of Tammy Faye. Another woman (Jane Campion) bested the men as Best Director; a groundbreaking, film (CODA), remarkable for its cast of deaf actors, won Best Picture, earning its star, Troy Kotsur, the Best supporting actor gong, too, and a Latina (Ariana Debose) won Best Supporting Actress. However, all those worthy winners faded into the background when the Best Actor, Will Smith, the star of the Williams sisters’ biopic, King Richard,  decided to indulge himself in the most selfish and entitled way, with his assault on Rock. 

Start of Smith’s apology video

Oscar night 2022 should have been Smith’s crowning glory. He had never won the accolade, despite some notable acting in various films, and on the night he was to be honoured he clearly lost his head, deciding that displaying a kind of macho arrogance and selfishness was much better. A choice that took no account of the prestigious event, or anyone else in the room. Yet, for every nominee, it was their moment, too, and they had to watch helplessly as Smith made it all about himself. Puffed up with false pride and self-righteousness, with one foolish slap, Smith changed his victorious night into a shameful display of masculine toxicity and moral defeat.  

Graffiti of Will Smith slapping Chris Rock at the Oscars 2022 by Eme Freethinker at Mauerpark in Berlin, Germany. by Singlespeedfahrer . Credit Wikimedia Commons

Fast forward to the present time, when he has been banned for 10 years from the Academy, and Rock has used the moment to his advantage in his shows. Smith has been apologising a lot since that night, the latest being a lengthy video in which he tried to show his sincerity and regret. But Rock will not be engaged, and refuses to even acknowledge it. 

In essence, the value of an apology can be highly overrated, because, unless it is spontaneous and heartfelt, it simply becomes an excuse for excusing, and perpetuating, bad behaviour. Making an apology after an act seems to take the place of restraining one’s self from such actions in the first place.  Yet, only Chris Rock knew how he felt being on the receiving end  of Smith’s humiliating action, which was done for maximum effect in front of a global audience. 

Quite clearly, an apology doesn’t cut it for Rock, or compensate for his hurt and pain. It has little value after the unexpectedly cruel fact.


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