During a far ranging conversation with Trevor Noah on “They Daily Show” on Monday, Will Smith opened up about the aftermath of his slapping Chris Rock at the 2022 Oscars, saying in part, “I had to humble down and realize that I’m a flawed human.”
Smith was on “The Daily Show” to promote his new movie “Emancipation,” directed by Antoine Fuqua, but unsurprisingly a large portion of the discussion concerned the now-infamous moment when Smith slapped Oscars host Christ Rock over a joke Rock made about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith.
Among other things, Smith told Noah he really hopes “Emancipation” and the other cast and crew who made it won’t be negatively impacted by the public fallout from his actions. “The idea they might be denied [Oscars] because of me… that is killing me dead,” Smith told Noah.
“The thing that is so critical for me, is that these people came, and they trusted me, and they were down for me. I hope that their work will be honored, and their work will not be tainted based on a horrific decision on my part,” Smith added.
Noah, who throughout the interview emphasized he considers both Smith and Rock to be friends, said he doesn’t believe that will be the case. Though he did tell Smith, despite liking him so much, that the Oscars slap “was f—ed up.”
Noah also noted how many people reacted to the incident by saying something along the lines of “now we see who Smith really is.” But Noah countered that in his view, the incident was so shocking because it wasn’t who Smith is at all.
Smith alluded to problems in his life that impacted his judgement, telling Noah that something he now is more fully aware of is “you just never know what somebody is going through… We just gotta be nice to each other man. It’s hard. The thing that was most painful for me, I took my hard and made it hard for other people.”
Smith also said the incident “was a lot of things,” including a reflection of the abuse he witnessed his father inflict on his mother as a child, telling Noah, “that’s not who I wanna be.”
Later in the discussion, Smith described how amid the public controversy he became more aware of his failings. “I’ve always wanted to swoop in and save the damsel in distress,” Smith said. “And I had to humble down and realize that I’m a flawed human. And I still have an opportunity to go out into the world and contribute in a way that fills my heart, and maybe helps other people.”
Watch the complete interview above now.