Tyler Perry has opened up about that infamous Will Smith slapping Chris Rock at the Oscars incident, claiming Will was “devastated” afterward.
Tyler spoke to Gayle King as part of a panel for the Tribeca Film Festival’s Directors Series on Monday and addressed the shocking moment.
Tyler Perry was pictured comforting Will Smith after the slap
Tyler, along with Denzel Washington, was pictured with Will Smith directly after the incident, and from the outside, it looked as if he was comforting the Pursuit of Happyness star.
However, Tyler poured cold water on that assumption, claiming he was simply “de-escalating” the situation, which is understandable.
Tyler made sure he was very clear about that, saying, “There’s a difference between comforting and de-escalating. Being friends with both of them, it’s been very difficult.”
Tyler made it clear he checked on Chris Rock first
Talking about what really happened behind the scenes, he made it clear that he checked on Chris Rock first to make sure he was okay and told Will Smith as much. The actor and director said, “I was there close up, I left early to go and check on Chris because it was wrong in no uncertain terms. I made sure I said that to Will, and when we walked over to him, he was devastated.”
He continued, “He couldn’t believe what happened. I think he is very much in reflection of trying to figure out what happened.”
Tyler went on to talk about the trauma Will Smith dealt with as a child trying to protect his mother, which he talked about in his memoir Will, and cited this as one of the reasons he lashed out in such an inappropriate way.
Will Smith posted an apology to Instagram
Will Smith apologized on Instagram after the incident, claiming, “Violence in all of its forms is poisonous and destructive. My behavior at last night’s Academy Awards was unacceptable and inexcusable.”
He went on to express his anger at a joke being made about Jada’s medical condition, and that he “reacted emotionally.”
The King Richard star continued, “I would like to publicly apologize to you, Chris. I was out of line and I was wrong.”
Though there has been no confirmation that Will bothered to apologize to Chris in person, it’s likely the Instagram post was a way to calm the anger from fans and viewers of the live broadcast.
Jada Pinkett-Smith also addressed the incident
Jada Pinkett-Smith addressed the infamous slap herself on an episode of Red Table Talk. She said, “About Oscar night: My deepest hope is that these two intelligent, capable men have an opportunity to heal, talk this out and reconcile.”
So far, Chris Rock has not publicly addressed Will Smith about the infamous night.