“He didn’t do this from the goodness of his heart,” the insider claims. “Will has realized he is not as popular as he used to be, that the furor of ‘the slap’ is not going away, and he really has done lasting damage to his career.
“People just don’t forget that Will Smith assaulted someone on national television, then went out and partied like a rock star at the Vanity Fair party.”
Smith, 53, said in a YouTube message Friday that he was “fogged out” in the moments after the infamous slap on March 27, which is why he did not apologize to Rock in his Best Actor acceptance speech later in the evening.
“I reached out to Chris, and the message that came back is he’s not ready to talk, but when he is, he will reach out,” the “King Richard” star said. “I will say to you, Chris, I apologize to you. My behavior was unacceptable, and I’m here whenever you’re ready to talk.”
Smith waxed on in the video, “Disappointing people is my central trauma. I hate when I let people down, so it hurts psychologically and emotionally to know that I didn’t live up to people’s image and impression of me.
“The work I’m trying to do is I am deeply remorseful, and I’m trying to be remorseful without being ashamed of myself.”
He added, “I’m human, and I made a mistake, and I’m trying not to think of myself as a piece of s–t.”
But the Hollywood insider notes that the video “looks like it was staged by a team of therapists and publicists,” telling us, “Even the set looks like a bad psychiatrist’s office. It seems disingenuous.
“But the message appears to be clear to everyone in comedy — Will still needs a lot more more therapy.”
After keeping mum for months, Rock, 57, finally broke his silence on the slap heard around the world, saying during a stand-up show in New York last Saturday, “Yeah, that s–t hurt, motherf–ker, but I shook that s–t off and went to work the next day.
“Anyone who says ‘words hurt’ has never been punched in the face,” the comedian declared while performing alongside Kevin Hart and Dave Chappelle at Madison Square Garden.
Rock’s publicist, Leslie Sloane, didn’t comment when reached by Page Six.
But the insider asks, “Why is Will apologizing now? What happened that opened his eyes? Where has he been hiding?
“Or is it that Will read the coverage of Chris’ shows and finally felt he had to formally address it for his own career?”
The insider sniffs, “This is all so manufactured.”
A rep for Smith didn’t immediately get back to us.
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