Our latest stop on the tidal wave of reaction to Will Smith slapping Chris Rock at the 2022 Oscars is none other than Will Smith's mother, Carolyn Bright. Speaking with her local news affiliate, 6ABC Philadelphia, and she conveyed how surprised she was by her son's behavior. When asked about the incident by the reporter, Carolyn Bright stated that her son Will is "a very even people person and that's the first time I've ever seen him go off, the first time in his life."
When asked directly if Will's violent act surprised her, Carolyn stated "It did, it did. I've never seen him do that."
Will Smith's sister, Ellen, also spoke on the incident, saying: "People's like, 'Oh, I wish I was in such in such's shoes or oh those are my goals and everything.' But you really don't know what it takes to get there. And I've had conversations with him and it really kind of broke my heart listening to the things he said he had to go through to get to where he is."
Ultimately, Will's mother says she's "proud of him being him." In true mom fashion, she also provided some guiding advice to her son: "Get some rest and go on vacation."
Will Smith followed his assault on Chris Rock by taking the stage to accept his Oscar for Best Actor in King Richard. He was apologetic for his actions while giving his acceptance speech, but it wasn't until the next day that Will Smith publicly apologized to Chris Rock for the first time, via an Instagram post.
"I would like to publicly apologize to you, Chris," Smith said in one part of his apology. "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."
Ironically enough, Will Smith had his mother's watching eyes on his mind when he accepted his Oscar, telling the audience (and the world):
"Art imitates life. I look like the crazy father, just like they said about Richard Williams. But love will make you do crazy things. To my mother, a lot of this moment is really complicated for me, but to my mother ... she's in Philly watching ... my family, my wife, I'm taking up too much time. Thank you for this honor, thank you for this moment, I thank you on behalf of Richard and the entire Williams family. I hope the Academy invites me back, thank you."
Will Smith has made no secret that his own father's abuse of his mother was a major formative part of his personality and psychology. Indeed, putting his hands on another person in defense of the woman in his life (wife Jada Pinkett Smith) must be a Freudian knot Will Smith will be untangling for years after this...
- Jaden Smith Speaks Out on Will Smith Slapping Chris Rock
- Will Smith's Public Apology to Chris Rock
- Jada Pinkett Smith Responds
- King Richard Responds