Actor Will Smith has issued a public apology to Chris Rock after slapping the comedian at the Oscars.

The 53-year-old called his behaviour at the Academy Awards “unacceptable and inexcusable” and said he was embarrassed by his actions.

Smith added that the joke about his wife’s medical condition had caused him to react “emotionally” but “violence in all its forms is poisonous and destructive”.

The actor said: “I would like to publicly apologise to you, Chris. 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”.

HeraldScotland: (PA)(PA)

He concluded by saying: “I am a work in progress.”

Smith stormed the stage of the Oscars and hit Chris Rock in the face after the comedian made a joke about his wife Jada Pinkett Smith.

He appeared to take offence to a gag Rock made about Pinkett Smith’s short haircut.

The Magic Mike XXL star and Red Table Talk host has previously spoken about her experiences with hair loss and said it is what prompted her to shave her head.

Referring to Pinkett Smith’s buzzcut, Rock said: “Jada, can’t wait for GI Jane 2”, prompting the actress to roll her eyes.

 

However, Smith walked up on stage and appeared to hit Rock before returning to his seat and shouting twice: “Keep my wife’s name out of your f****** mouth.”

Rock appeared shocked and flustered as he tried to resume presenting the best documentary feature category.

He said: “That was the greatest night in the history of television.”

The incident cast a cloud over Smith’s acceptance speech for his first ever Oscar, after he was named best actor for his portrayal of Richard Williams, the father of tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams, in King Richard.