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*Lupita Nyong’o is speaking about her reaction to Will Smith smacking Chris Rock at the 94th Academy Awards.
Nyong’o was seated behind Will and his wife Jada Pinkett Smith when the actor walked on stage and slapped Rock after the comedian made a tasteless joke about Jada’s bald head.
“I knew as soon as it was over that I was going to be a meme,” the “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” actress said in a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter.
Nyong’o’s reaction to the slap went viral but she admits that initially, she wasn’t sure how to respond.
“Once the moment was over, I realized, ‘Oh my God, there’s no way all this transpired and I’m not in the shot,’ ” Nyong’o told THR. “I don’t want to add any more fuel to that thing, quite frankly.”
In an emotional YouTube video posted in July, Smith explained why he didn’t apologize to Rock during his acceptance speech for the best actor award for the film “King Richard” at the March 27 Oscars ceremony.
“It’s all fuzzy,” Smith says in the video. “I’ve reached out to Chris and the message that came back is he’s not ready to talk, and when he is, he will reach out.”
Smith called his behavior “unacceptable.” The actor said he responded violently because Rock joked about Jada’s hair loss.
“So I will say to you, Chris, I apologize to you. My behavior was unacceptable and I’m here whenever you’re ready to talk,” the actor says in the clip, Daily Mail reports.
“I just didn’t realize how many people got hurt in that moment, so I want to apologize to Chris’s mother. I want to apologize.”
Smith also made clear that Jada did not instruct him to slap Rock.
“I made a choice of my own from my own experiences from my history with Chris. Jada had nothing to do with it. I’m sorry, babe,” said Smith.
“I want to say sorry to my kids and my family for the heat that I brought on all of us,” he continued.
“To all my fellow nominees, this is a community. It’s like, I won because you voted for me and it breaks my heart to have stolen and tarnished your moment.”
Smith closed the video with a pledge to learn from his mistakes.
“I know it was confusing, I know it was shocking,” he says. “But I promise you, I am deeply devoted and committed to putting light and love and joy into the world. And, you know, if you hang on, I promise we’ll be able to be friends again.”
Watch his full video statement below.
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