MUMBAI: Oscar-winning Hollywood actor Will Smith who slapped comedian Chris Rock on the Academy Awards stage last month was spotted at a private airport in Mumbai on Saturday.
The actor was seen dressed in an oversized white T-shirt that he teamed with the same colored pants over which he donned knee-length black shorts. The photos also showed a 'mala' around his neck. It is believed to be Smith's first public appearance since his Oscars controversy.
The 53-year-old superstar waved at mediapersons and humbly greeted the fans who came to click pictures with him. Accompanying the actor was a person who seemed to be a monk, dressed in saffron clothes typically worn by sadhus.
The purpose of the trip of the 'King Richard' actor has not been publicised.
For the unversed, this is not the first time that Smith has visited India.
He visited Haridwar in 2019 as part of his Facebook Watch series; and also shot for his cameo in 'Student of the Year 2' in Mumbai.
Meanwhile, Smith remained away from the spotlight after the Oscars slap incident. While presenting the best documentary feature award at the 2022 Oscars, Chris Rock made a joke about Smith's wife Jada Pinkett Smith's shaved head.
Rock said he couldn't wait to see Pinkett Smith, who has alopecia areata, star in 'G.I. Jane 2' which led Smith to go up on stage and slap Rock. Smith returned to his seat and shouted, "Keep my wife's name out of your fu**ing mouth!"
A few minutes after the incident, Smith was announced Best Actor at the 94th Academy Awards.
While accepting his first-ever Oscar for best actor (leading role) in 'King Richard', Smith apologized to the Academy and fellow nominees but did not mention Rock.
However, after receiving backlash for his disorderly behaviour, Smith issued an apology to Chris Rock and Academy on his social media handle.
On March 29, there was a short virtual meeting between Smith, Rubin and Academy CEO Dawn Hudson, initiated by Smith. A few hours later, Smith announced his resignation from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, claiming he "willfully accept any and all consequences for my conduct."
Soon after the Academy's statement, Smith resigned from his AMPAS membership and the Academy continued its investigation. The Academy then moved up its meeting, where it banned Smith from its events for the next 10 years.