Tyler Perry says Will Smith “was devastated” moments after slapping Chris Rock at the Oscars.
The filmmaker was one of those who joined Smith after the shocking moment, stemming from a gi jane prank that Rock made at the expense of Jada Pinkett Smith, allegedly unaware that she has alopecia. Perry also defended his own actions, saying that she was not “consoling” Smith but “de-escalating” the situation.
“There’s a difference between comforting and calming, that’s the first thing,” Perry told Gayle King on Monday at the Tribeca Film Festival via People magazine. “And I left early to check on Chris and make sure he was okay. Being friends with both of them has been really hard.”
Perry said he was “close there” on March 27, as he paid tribute to Sidney Poiter during the in memoriam segment, and what Smith did “was wrong in no uncertain terms. I made sure to tell Will that.”
Perry said that when he and Denzel Washington “came up to” Smith, “he was devastated. He couldn’t believe what happened. I look this man in the eye and say, ‘What are you doing? This is your night.’ to get to this point, to win an Oscar, that was one of the career highlights that he wanted so desperately, and for something like that to happen…”
Smith, of course, received the Oscar for best actor for king richard shortly after, taking the stage and giving an acceptance speech. She received a standing ovation.
Perry said he thinks Smith, who publicly apologized to Rock and was banned from the Oscars for 10 years, “is a reflection of trying to figure out what happened.”
He did, however, point to part of Smith’s 2021 memoir. Will in which the future Ali star recalled, at age 9, seeing her father hit her mother on the side of the head so hard that she collapsed. Smith wrote that for a long time he felt like a coward for failing him and not standing up for his father at the time. He contemplated killing his father to avenge his mother.
“I know that feeling of being a man and thinking about the little boy,” Perry said. “If that trauma isn’t dealt with immediately as you get older, it’s going to show up at the most inappropriate and most horrible time. I know Will. I know him well.”
Washington, who helped defuse the tension with Perry, previously said of the high-profile incident: “There’s a saying, ‘When the devil ignores you, then you know you’re doing something wrong.'” You know, the devil says, ‘Oh no, leave him alone, he’s my favorite. Don’t bother him.’ On the contrary, when the devil comes to you, it may be because you are trying to do something right. And for some reason, the devil got a hold of that circumstance that night.”
Smith, who resigned from the Academy amid the scandal, apologized to the Academy and showgoers (but not Rock) as he accepted his Best Actor trophy during the fated ceremony. Afterward, he celebrated his win at an Oscar party with his family by dancing to “Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It.” The next day, he publicly apologized to Rock (“violence in all its forms is poisonous and destructive”), but said, “Pranks at my expense are part of the job, but a joke about Jada’s medical condition was too much for me.” my”. endure and I reacted emotionally.” Once the Academy issued the ban, he apologized again, calling his actions “shocking, painful and inexcusable” and global audiences at home.”
Rock, who refused to prosecute Smith the night of the awards show, has not directly addressed the slap, only commenting on it during his standup.
In red table talk Earlier this month, Pinkett Smith broke her silence on the situation in an episode dedicated to alopecia. She said she hopes Smith and Rock “will get on their feet, talk about this and make up. With the state of the world right now, we need both of you, and we all need each other more than ever.”
She faced criticism for her comments, including from former co-star Vivica A. Fox, who said she was disappointed she hadn’t “taken responsibility” when video from Oscar night appeared to show Jada laughing in her seat after the show. slap.