'He’s in a better space': Kevin Hart says Will Smith is ‘apologetic’ after Oscars slapgate
Kevin Hart claims that since the controversial slap-gate incident at the 2022 Oscars that saw Will Smith slapping host Chris Rock, the former seems to be ‘"apologetic" and "in a better space." Speaking to Entertainment Tonight, Hart said, “Will is apologetic, you know, he’s in a better space, of course, than what he was after. People are human and as humans sometimes we make mistakes. So it’s not about talking about the past, it’s about acknowledging the present and doing your best to move forward.”
Hart, who is a close friend of Smith, said he's still friends with both Will and Rock, adding that he hopes they can make amends. “I can get only hope that the two of them find a way to find some solace in that and move past it … I still love him, I still love Chris, and, you know, you can’t judge a person by one thing. Ultimately, life goes on and people grow, so give him the opportunity to do so,” he told Entertainment Tonight at the premiere of his animated movie 'DC League of Super-Pets' on Wednesday, July 13.
Smith approached the Oscars stage and struck documentary award presenter Rock after the latter made a joke about his wife Jada Pinkett Smith's hair. Smith was not removed from the event and went on to win the Best Actor award for his performance in 'King Richard' just an hour after the incident. While accepting the award, a tearful Smith apologized to the Academy and to his fellow nominees but conveniently avoided mentioning Rock.
Smith later resigned from the Academy and issued a more official apology, calling his acts ‘shocking, painful, and inexcusable.’ He was also barred from attending any Academy activities for ten years. Rock, 57, has made passing jokes about the incident during stand-up shows in the weeks following the Oscars, but he hasn't yet discussed it in-depth. He has promised to eventually talk about it at some point.
On a ‘Red Table Talk’ episode, Jada, 50, spoke about the incident saying, "About Oscar night: My deepest hope is that these two intelligent, capable men have an opportunity to heal, talk this out and reconcile. With the state of the world today, we need 'em both, and we all actually need one another more than ever. Until then, Will and I are continuing to do what we have done for the last 28 years — and that's [to] keep figuring out this thing called life together. Thank you for listening."
Coming to Hart, he was supposed to host the 2019 Oscars but was forced to step down in December 2018 after refusing to apologize for past homophobic comments. He subsequently apologized on social media as well.