Rock has made subtle nods to the slap in comedy shows in the months since, but he has not publicly addressed it at length. He took the same approach during his performance on Friday.
“Everybody is trying to be a f—ing victim. If everybody claims to be a victim, then nobody will hear the real victims,” Rock said. “Even me getting smacked by Suge Smith … I went to work the next day, I got kids.”
He later quipped, “Anyone who says words hurt has never been punched in the face.”
Smith charged the stage and hit Rock after he made a joke about his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith’s hairstyle, who suffers from alopecia.
In the video posted on his social media accounts, a solemn Smith starts with a message on screen: “Over the last few months, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and personal work. … You asked a lot of fair questions that I wanted to take some time to answer,” it reads.
Smith sighs then offers his thoughts about an altercation that made headlines worldwide and tarnished his image.
He explains why he didn’t apologize to Rock during his Oscar win acceptance speech for best actor in “King Richard.”
“I was fogged out by that point,” he says. “It’s all fuzzy.”
Smith says he’s tried to contact Rock, but he indicated he’s not ready to talk and will reach out when he is.
“So I will say to you Chris, I apologize to you. My behavior was unacceptable and I’m here whenever you are ready to talk.”
“We had a great relationship,” Smith says. “Tony Rock was my man and this is probably irreparable.”.
Smith also apologizes to his wife, their children, and his fellow Academy Award nominees.
“Disappointing people is my central trauma,” he says.” I hate when I let people down so it hurts.”
Smith directs a message to his supporters, saying he’s committed “to putting light and love and joy into the world.”
“If you hang on I promise we’ll be able to be friends again,” he concludes.