Will Smith stepped out for his first public appearance since the 95th Annual Academy Awards, where jokes were made about his infamous slap the prior year, on Sunday, March 19. He was attending the F1 Grand Prix of Saudi Arabia and showing support for driver Lewis Hamilton at the big event. The actor, 54, was seen smiling as he walked behind the driver, 38, who came in fifth place in the race.
Will looked like he was having a great time with Lewis before the race. As Lewis sported his racing gear, Will rocked an orange button down with some colorful stripes going down the side, and he also wore a green baseball cap for the event.
Before heading off to watch the race, Will announced that he was on “Team Lewis” and showed his support for the British racer. “That’s my guy,” he said, per Mirror. “I was out last night so I lost my voice a little bit. But I’m always team Lewis.” Later, the Oscar-winner was also asked if he was taking part in a new F1 movie. “I haven’t been asked yet but I would love to. I may have to work on this gut though! It doesn’t fit in the car too well,” he said.
Will’s appearance at the F1 race comes just a week after the Oscars aired, a year after he sparked controversy when he slapped Chris Rock over a joke that the comedian made about his wife Jada Pinkett-Smith. Following the incident, Will was banned from the award show for 10 years. Months after the incident, Will took to YouTube to release a video publicly apologizing to Chris. “I’ve reached out to Chris and the message that came back is that he’s not ready to talk and when he is, he will reach out. So I will I will say to you, Chris, I apologize to you. My behavior was unacceptable,” he said.
In light of the Oscars slap, Chris mostly kept silent until he released his comedy special Selective Outrage on Netflix, earlier in March. In the special, he spoke about Jada’s “entanglement” with one of their son’s friends and called him out for the incident. “She hurt him way more than he hurt me,” he quipped.