Will Smith reacts to fans skipping his new film after Oscar controversy

Will Smith has revealed he would “understand” if audiences wanted to skip his new film following his controversial bash at the Oscars in March.

The actor infamously slammed Chris Rock after the comedian’s joke at the expense of Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, overshadowed his Best Male win for King Richard.

Eight months later, Smith is now promoting Liberationhis first film since the incident, and he hoped it would be successful despite admitting he couldn’t blame audiences for steering away.

Apple TV+

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“I understand that completely [not watching the film],” he told Good day DC. “If someone is not ready, I will certainly respect that and give them space to not be ready.

“My deepest hope is that my actions do not punish my team. I hope that the material, timeliness and power of the film, as well as the good that can be done, will open people’s hearts to recognize and support the incredible artists in and around this film, he added.

Liberationwhich will be released on Apple TV+, sees Smith play an enslaved man who escapes from a Louisiana plantation in the 1860s, bound for the Union Army in the North after a treacherous journey.

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Based on a true story, the film will also star Ben Foster, Charmaine Bingwa and The walking dead‘s Steven Ogg, with screenplay by William N Collage.

Director Antoine Fuqua, best known for The Equalizer and Training dayrecently defended the release of Liberation after Smith’s controversy, revealing that the option to cancel the film was never considered by Apple.

“There was never a conversation with me and Apple or my producers … about the film not coming out,” he revealed. “My conversation was always, ‘Isn’t 400 years of slavery, of brutality, more important than one bad moment?'”

Liberation will be released in select theaters on December 2, before streaming on Apple TV+ on December 9.

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