The Reelist

Apple plans to delay Will Smith movie due to slapping controversy

94th Annual Academy Awards - Show
94th Annual Academy Awards - Show / Neilson Barnard/GettyImages

Apple is delaying the release of Will Smith's next film, Emancipation, in the wake of his now infamous slapping of Chris Rock during the 2022 Oscars, it was revealed on Friday.

Apple Original Films and Smith's own Westbrook Studios is behind the upcoming drama which was expected to premiere this year, but sources say there is an "unspoken truth that the movie will not come out until 2023," Variety reported.

The Antoine Fuqua directed movie was already getting awards buzz prior to this year's Oscars but Smith's on-camera assault of comedian Chris Rock sent the studio into full damage control. Emancipation, sees Will Smith portraying a runaway slave named Peter, which is based on a true story from an 1863 photo titled The Scourged Back.

The 53-year-old's performance was expected to earn him an Oscar nod - but that was prior to the 2022 ceremony where he slapped Chris Rock on stage.

A source told Variety that "it's the unspoken truth" that the historical drama - which would have been Smith's first following the ordeal - will not come out until some time in 2023.