Oscar-winning Actor Will Smith appears to be in good spirits as he was spotted taking photos and selfies with fans at a private airport in Mumbai, India over the weekend. The Saturday, April 23, outing marks the actor’s first public appearance since he infamously slapped Chris Rock on live television during the 94th Academy Awards ceremony on March 27.
A horde of paparazzi awaited Smith’s arrival at the private airfield in Mumbai. Video footage obtained by TMZ featured the group of photographers attempting to get closer to the actor by repeatedly shouting in his name. After taking photos with fans, including one with an airport security guard, Smith, 53, waved at the photographers before entering the airport facility.
For the outing, Smith donned a white t-shirt, gray shorts over white compression pants, and a pair of Nike sneakers. It remains unknown if Smith’s travels to India were for business or for pleasure.
Smith’s trip comes just days after the Season 5 premiere of Red Table Talk, the roundtable discussion show hosted by Jada Pinkett Smith, Willow Smith, and Adrienne “Gammy” Banfield Norris (Smith’s wife, daughter, and mother-in-law respectively). At the beginning of the episode, the Oscars slapping incident was addressed in a brief message.
“Considering all that has happened in the last few weeks, the Smith family has been focusing on deep healing...some of the discoveries around our healing will be shared at the table when the time calls,” the message read. “Until then, the table will continue offering itself to powerful, inspiring and healing testimonies like that of our incredibly impressive first guest. Thanks for joining us, Jada.”
During the Oscars ceremony, Will Smith went up onstage and slapped comedian Chris Rock, who was presenting the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature, for making a G.I. Jane joke about Jada’s shaved head. Pinkett Smith, who shaved her head due to suffering from alopecia, an autoimmune disease which causes hair loss, has been very vocal about her 2018 diagnosis.
Smith then return to his seat, from which he yelled at Rock to, “Keep his wife’s name out of his f***ing mouth” two times to the shock of attendees of the ceremony and to viewers around the world.
Just 40 minutes later, Smith was up onstage again as he won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance as Richard Williams, the father of tennis stars Serena and Venus Williams, in the film King Richard. In his acceptance speech, a tearful Smith apologized to The Academy and fellow nominees.
It wasn’t until the day after the Oscars Ceremony where, in an Instagram post, Smith publicly apologized to Rock, stating that he was “reacting emotionally” because the “joke about Jada’s medical condition was to much for me to bear.”
"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." Smith wrote in his social media apology.
Videos of the slap quickly went viral on social media and produced widespread commentary, debate, and discussion. The incident has continued to receive heavy news coverage, and largely overshadowed the other winners and the rest of the ceremony.
The incident resulted in Smith resigning from The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on April 1. This means the newly crowned Oscar winner will be unable to vote on Oscar-nominated films and performances each year. However, his resignation does prevent Smith from receiving potential Oscar consideration and/or nominations for any of his future work and projects.
A week after Smith’s voluntary resignation, the Academy’s Board of Directors announced that they would be banning Will Smith from attending The Oscars and any Academy-related events for ten years. Shortly after the Academy publicly announced the ban, Smith issued a short statement stating that he, “[accepted] and [respected] the Academy's decision.”
As for Rock, 57, who is currently in the middle of his comedy tour, he has largely remained largely silent since the incident, telling audience members at his tour’s first show in Boston on March 31, that he’s, “still kind of processing what happened. … So at some point I’ll talk about that s***. And it’ll be serious, and it’ll be funny.”
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