Will Smith won the best actor Oscar for “King Richard” shortly after he appeared to hit comedian Chris Rock on stage following a joke about his wife Jada.
Smith apologised during his best actor acceptance speech, saying “I want to apologise to the Academy, I want to apologise to all my fellow nominees.”
Accepting his best actor Oscar for his portrayal of Richard Williams, the father of Venus and Serena Williams, Will Smith said: “Richard Williams was a fierce defender of his family.
“At this time in my life, at this moment, I am overwhelmed by what God is calling me to do and be in this world.”
He added: “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’ve got to be able to take abuse, you’ve got to be able to have people talk crazy about you in this business.
“You’ve got to be able to have people disrespect you and you’ve got to smile and pretend like that’s OK.” (dpa/NAN)