Actor Will Smith said he would understand if some of his former fans are not willing to see his new film, "Emancipation," after he assaulted comedian Chris Rock on stage at the Oscars earlier this year.
Since he smacked Rock in the face in March, Smith hasn't released a new film until "Emancipation." In response to a joke that Rock had made about Smith's wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, and her alopecia, an autoimmune condition that results in hair loss, Smith had slapped the comedian.
Smith has issued numerous apologies and resigned from the Academy since the incident.
The actor stated that he would comprehend if people were not prepared to see his film as a result of his slap at the Oscars in a recent interview.
"I completely understand that, if someone is not ready, I would absolutely respect that and allow them their space to not be ready," Will Smith said. "My deepest concern is my team – [director Antoine Fuqua] has done what I think is the greatest work of his entire career."
He claims that his team has done "some of the best work of their entire careers" and that his only "hope is that my actions don’t penalize my team."
"I’m hoping that the material – the power of the film, the timeliness of the story – I’m hoping that the good that can be done would open people’s hearts at a minimum to see and recognize and support the incredible artists in and around this film," Smith added.