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94th Annual Academy Awards - Arrivals

Source: David Livingston / Getty

Will Smith has been under scrutiny since slapping Chris Rock at the 94th Academy Awards after Rock made an insensitive G.I Jane like referring to Jada Pinkett Smith’s bald head. Allegedly, a source close to the Smith family told Entertainment Tonight that the Oscar-winning actor has been processing what happened with the help of close friends and family. In his public apology to Rock and his statement where he announced his resignation from the Academy, he shared his remorse for his actions and the source said this is 100% sincere. With all the commentary around whether he was justified or not, Smith “is aware of the backlash that has surfaced, especially from the comedian community.”

“Though Will’s actions have caused embarrassment for some of his friends and peers, his close friends are still privately texting him and trying to be there for him,” the source said. “They believe there is a lot of anger in Will and his incident at the Oscars is just one way that it came out.”

The source added that Smith’s tribe wants him to seek psychotherapy and stay out of the public light.

“They think he needs to take a break from acting, go to therapy, and sort out his issues,” they said.

As a psychotherapist, I can say this sounds like sound advice. His actions reflected his own trauma from growing up in a house with domestic violence, however he has now traumatized another person and humiliated them in front of the world. All of this needs to be processed with the help of a mental health professional not only so Smith can forgive himself but so he can also prevent trauma-rooted responses from happening again.

There were also reports that the Los Angeles Police Department was investigating the incident and had approached Rock about pressing charges, which he declined to do. LAPD sources recently told TMZ that police couldn’t arrest Smith after he slapped Rock because even though a police officer was in the building, they didn’t see the slap happen. The police were reportedly backstage and once they heard about what happened, they asked Rock about what actions he wanted to take.

In the aftermath of the slap, one of the main consequences for Smith has been the pausing of filming his next two films, Bad Boys 4 and Fast and Loose. His upcoming Apple TV drama, Emancipation, hasn’t been put on hold though. The drama series, where Smith plays a runaway slave who joins the Union Army, is in post-production, according to Variety.

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