Will Smith’s First Non-Oscars Social Media Post Has the Internet Sounding Off

by Shelby Scott

After starring in the hit NBC sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Will Smith quickly became one of Hollywood’s most sought-after stars. However, more than two decades following the series’ conclusion, Will Smith suddenly became a pariah in Hollywood, having struck comedian and fellow actor Chris Rock in the face on live TV at the 2022 Academy Awards in March. Now, months following what has been called the “slap heard around the world,” Will Smith is trying to break back into social media. And a recent post has fans sounding off. 

Taking to Instagram on Friday, Will Smith shared a comical video of an adolescent gorilla messing around with an elder. The clip, which you can see below, shows the younger animal running up to the full-grown gorilla, poking it, and then running away mischievously before the adult finally turns and chases after the troublesome primate.

“Me trying to get back on social,” the Bad Boys For Life star wrote. Fans, despite months of bad press, were extremely supportive of the longtime actor, sharing their encouragement in the comments. 

“One moment can’t erase 30 plus years of good will,” one follower wrote. “[P]ut your jersey on and get back in the game.” 

Others assured Will Smith, “Man you good we love you” and “We love & miss you Will.” 

A fourth fan said to Will Smith, “We will welcome you back man! We’ve missed you! Everyone goes through sh*t. You’re human, just like the rest of us!” 

While Hollywood may still be on the fence about Will Smith, it’s clear that longtime fans have long forgiven him. 

Will Smith Spotted in Public For the First Time Since Oscars Slap

Before Will Smith made his attempt to break back onto social media Friday, the actor was finally seen on his first public outing alongside wife Jada Pinkett-Smith since the Oscars. The photos, captured on August 14th, see the 53-year-old actor dressed simply in a short-sleeve navy-colored polo and matching slacks, topped off with a baseball cap. Jada Pinkett-Smith, sporting wide-legged black trousers, a black button-up blouse, and black and white sneakers, holds on to what appears to be the actor’s belt or pocket. 

One photo shows the couple leaving a lunch date in Malibu, California, while another features Will Smith smiling and waving in the direction of the photographer. In the aftermath of the Oscars slap, fans see the actor throwing up a peace sign. See all the photos here.

Ahead of the mid-August outing, Will Smith spoke out about his journey following the March incident. 

“[I] spent the last three months replaying and understanding the nuances and the complexities of what happened in that moment,” Smith reflected. In addressing the moment, he said, “there is no part of me that thinks that was the right way to behave…There is no part of me that thinks that’s the optimal way to handle a feeling of disrespect or insults.”