Kevin Hart says that Will Smith is “apologetic” and “in a better space” after the infamous incident at the 2022 Oscar ceremony in which Smith slapped awards host Chris Rock.

Speaking to Entertainment Tonight, Hart said: “Will is apologetic, you know, he’s in a better space, of course, than what he was after. People are human and as humans sometimes we make mistakes. So it’s not about talking about the past, it’s about acknowledging the present and doing your best to move forward.”

Smith, notoriously, interrupted documentary award presenter Rock’s monologue after Rock joked about his wife Jada Pinkett Smith’s hair, walking on to the stage and hitting him. Smith was not ejected from the event and was later awarded the best actor Oscar for his role in King Richard. Saying he wanted to be a “vessel for love” from the podium, he said: “I wanna apologise to the Academy and to all my fellow nominees.” He subsequently made a more formal apology, saying his actions were “shocking, painful, and inexcusable”, and resigned his membership of the Academy; he was also banned from all Academy events for 10 years.

Hart was due to host the 2019 Oscars but was forced to step down in December 2018 after refusing to apologise for past homophobic comments. He subsequently apologised on social media.

Hart added: “I can get only hope that the two of them find a way to find some solace in that and move past it … I still love him, I still love Chris, and, you know, you can’t judge a person by one thing. Ultimately, life goes on and people grow, so give him the opportunity to do so.”