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Will Smith’s slap in the face of Chris Rock at the Oscars prompted a backlash from Venus’ father and Serena Williams, who Smith plays in “King Richard.”
According to his son and spokesperson, Richard Williams does not support violence.
“We don’t know all the details of what happened. But we don’t condone anyone hitting anyone else unless it’s in self-defense,” Richard Williams said via his son, Chavoita LeSane, at NBC News.
LeSane then shared that Venus and Serena’s dad was just as surprised as viewers at home by the now viral moment. LeSane declined to provide further comment on behalf of Richards, 80.
ALEC BALDWIN DEFENDS CHRIS ROCK AFTER WILL SMITH’S OSCAR SLAM
Smith, 53, first addressed the slap in the face minutes after it happened, when he won best actor for his role in ‘King Richard’. During his teary-eyed acceptance speech, Smith touched on the tennis stars’ real dad.
“Richard Williams was a fierce advocate for his family,” Smith said as he began his acceptance speech after winning Best Actor honors. He later apologized to numerous people – including Venus and Serena Williams – but did not mention Rock in his apology.
Smith then talked about being a protector for those who worked with him on the film like Aunjanue Ellis with Saniyya Sidney and Demi Singleton, the two actors who played Venus and Serena.
WILL SMITH, CHRIS ROCK’S OSCARS SLAP INCIDENT HEARD IN UNCENSORED VIRAL CLIP
“I am called in my life to love people, to protect them and to be a river to my people,” Smith said during her acceptance speech after winning her first-ever Oscar. “I know that to do what we do, you have to be able to take abuse. You have to be able to make people talk like crazy about you. In this business, you have to be able to have people who miss you. respect. . And you have to smile and pretend it’s OK.”
“I look like the mad dad, just like they said about Richard Williams,” Smith also said. “But love will make you do crazy things.”
The exchange began when Rock took aim at Pinkett Smith’s shaved head, saying, “Jada, I love you. ‘GI Jane 2’, can’t wait to see it, okay?” Rock’s reference was taken from the 1997 film “GI Jane,” starring Demi Moore, who shaved her head to portray a fictional Navy Seal candidate.
Pinkett Smith revealed in 2018 that she had been diagnosed with alopecia. She has often discussed hair loss challenges on Instagram and other social media platforms.
WILL SMITH APOLOGIZES TO CHRIS ROCK FOR OSCARS CLAP INCIDENT: ‘I WAS WRONG’
The joke missed, badly.
Smith took the stage from his front row seat and swung Rock with an open palm, generating a loud slap. Smith returned to his seat and yelled at Rock to leave Pinkett Smith alone. Rock replied that he was just making a “GI Jane” joke – and Smith yelled at him a second time.
The moment shocked audiences at the Dolby Theater and viewers at home.
On Monday, Smith publicly apologized to Rock, saying he was “wrong.” Her full statement read: “My behavior at the Oscars last night was unacceptable and inexcusable. Jokes at my expense are part of the job, but a joke about Jada’s medical condition was too much for me and I to bear. reacted emotionally.”
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“I would like to publicly apologize to you, Chris. I was out of place and I was wrong. I am embarrassed and my actions were not indicative of the man I want to be. There is no room for violence in a world of love and kindness.”
“I would also like to apologize to the Academy, the producers of the show, all the participants and everyone watching around the world. I would like to apologize to the Williams family and my ‘King family Richard’. I deeply regret that my behavior has tainted what has been an otherwise magnificent journey for all of us.”
“I’m a work in progress. Sincerely, Will.”
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Smith’s statement comes after the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced it was launching an official review of the altercation.
In a statement Monday, a spokesperson for the film academy told Variety, “The Academy condemns the actions of Mr. Smith on last night’s show. We have officially begun a formal review around the incident and will explore further actions and consequences in accordance with our California Laws, Standards of Conduct and Laws.”
The academy previously released a statement on Sunday, saying it “does not condone any form of violence.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.