94th academy awards show 8
Photo Credit: Myung Chun / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Will Smith On Moviegoers Who Refuse His Post-Oscars Comeback: "I Completely Understand"

While promoting Emancipation, Will Smith shared that he'll "completely understand" if fans don't accept him after the infamous Oscars slap.

Will Smith is in total acceptance of once-fans and critics refusing to see his future films. While chatting with Kevin McCarthy of Fox 5's Good Day DC to promote his upcoming Apple TV+ feature Emancipation, Smith said he'll "completely understand" if audiences are ready to watch his new films.

“I completely understand — if someone is not ready, I would absolutely respect that and allow them their space to not be ready,” Smith said. “My deepest concern is my team – Antoine has done what I think is the greatest work of his entire career. The people on this team have done some of the best work of their entire careers, and my deepest hope is that my actions don’t penalize my team. At this point, that’s what I’m working for.”

Smith added, “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.”

Written by William N. Collage, Emancipation is inspired by the 1863 photos of “Whipped Peter,” taken during a Union Army medical examination, which appeared in an Independence Day issue of Harper’s Weekly that detailed the cruelty of American slavery. Smith portrays Peter, who navigates the swamps of Louisiana to escape the plantation and join the Union Army.

Director Antoine Fuqua defended the film in a recent interview with Vanity Fair, also proclaiming that “there was never a conversation with me and Apple or my producers about the movie not coming out.”

“Of course I wanted people to see the film,” Fuqua said. “My conversation was always, ‘Isn’t 400 years of slavery, of brutality, more important than one bad moment?’ We were in Hollywood, and there’s been some really ugly things that have taken place, and we’ve seen a lot of people get awards that have done some really nasty things. So I think Apple considered all those things, and we discussed a lot of those things. Then a decision was made by the people in charge of distribution and the money at Apple — and I’m grateful, I’m really grateful.”

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