“He feels terrible and is trying not to panic, but seeing his roles put on ice has been a hugely bitter pill to swallow,” a source exclusively tells Us Weekly.
According to the insider, “His biggest fear is that he’s in the process of being fully canceled, and there’s nothing he can really do about it except sit back, suck up his punishment like a man and try to atone however he can.”
Smith, 53, made headlines for his altercation with Rock, 57, at the 94th annual Academy Awards on March 27. While presenting an award, the comedian made a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith appearing in G.I. Jane 2 because of her shaved head. Pinkett Smith, 50, who has alopecia, rolled her eyes before the King Richard star approached the stage and slapped Rock on camera.
“Will Smith just smacked the s—t out of me,” the South Carolina native said in uncensored footage that later appeared online. After Smith walked back to his seat, he yelled for Rock to “keep my wife’s name out your f—king mouth.”
Later that night, the Philadelphia native seemed to address the incident while accepting the best actor award for his performance in King Richard. “I’m being called on in my life to love people and to protect people and to be a river to my people. I know to do what we do, you got to be able to take abuse,” the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air alum said during an emotional acceptance speech. “You got to be able to have people talk crazy about you. In this business you got to be able to have people disrespecting you. And you got to smile, you got to pretend like that’s OK.”
Smith apologized the following day for the “unacceptable and inexcusable” behavior that took place at the awards show. “I would like to publicly apologize 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,” he wrote via Instagram.
The 7 Pounds star added: “I would also like to apologize to The Academy, the producers of the show, all the attendees and everyone watching around the world. I would like to apologize to the Williams Family and my King Richard Family. I deeply regret that my behavior has stained what has been an otherwise gorgeous journey for all of us.”
Amid the backlash, The Hollywood Reporter published a report about Smith’s projects at Netflix and Sony being shelved. On Friday, April 1, the I Am Legend star announced his resignation from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
“My actions at the 94th Academy Awards presentation were shocking, painful, and inexcusable,” Smith said in a statement, according to Variety. “The list of those I have hurt is long and includes Chris, his family, many of my dear friends and loved ones, all those in attendance, and global audiences at home. I betrayed the trust of the Academy.”
Rock, for his part, has yet to publicly address the situation or Smith’s apology. A second source previously told Us that the Grown Ups actor discussed the slap indirectly during a stand-up performance.
“Chris broke the ice by sarcastically saying he’s had an interesting week,” an eyewitness exclusively told Us of the comedian’s approach to the New Jersey gig on Saturday, April 2. “Everyone laughed because they knew what he was referring to, of course.”
For more on Smith’s state of mind after the 2022 Oscars, watch the video above and look for the new issue of Us Weekly, on stands now.