10 August 2022
Oscars producer Will Packer has praised Will Smith for his public apology to Chris Rock.
The ‘King Richard’ star caused a sensation at the Academy Awards ceremony in March when he stormed the stage to smack the comedian after he made fun of the actor’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, and last month he directly said sorry for his “unacceptable” behaviour.
And the ‘Men in Black’ actor has been praised by Packer – who headed up this year’s Oscars – for being “transparent” about his “personal rehabilitation”.
He told ‘Entertainment Tonight’: “I love the fact that he’s being so transparent about his process. Clearly he is going through his own personal rehabilitation.
“I’m pulling for him. I’m pulling for him to continue his own process, but I think this is for him. He needs to do it.
“I’m wishing you the best, brother.”
The ‘Beast’ producer declined to say if he’d spoken to either star since the incident, but insisted he wasn’t taking sides.
He said: “I would just say I love both of those brothers and I’m pulling for them.”
Despite the attention the row received at the time, Packer is “very prideful” of what he and his team achieved with their delivery of this year’s Oscars, which was hosted by Wanda Sykes, Amy Schumer and Regina Hall.
He said: “People always talk about that [slap], but I hope that over time people will realise it was an energetic, diverse, history-making Oscars ceremony. A lot of energy went into it. I’m very prideful of it.”
When he apologised last month, Smith – who resigned from the Academy in the wake of the row and was subsequently banned from the Oscars and all the organisation’s events for 10 years – blamed being “fogged out” and “fuzzy” for not saying sorry to the ‘Top 5’ star at the time.
He added in a question and answer session which he said was filled with “fair” questions from fans: “I’ve reached out to Chris and the message that came back is that he’s not ready to talk when he is, he will reach out. So I will say to you, Chris, I apologise to you.
“My behaviour was unacceptable and I’m here whenever you’re ready to talk.”
He also apologised to Chris’ mother and entire family, saying: “I just didn’t realise how many people got hurt in that moment, so I want to apologise to Chris’s mother. I want to apologise.”