Richard Williams, the man behind the film “King Richard” that earned Will Smith his first Oscar, breaks his silence on the heated exchange between the Academy Award winner and comedian Chris Rock. During Sunday night’s ceremony, Smith walked on stage and slapped Rock, who was presenting the next award, after making what many felt like was an insensitive joke about the shaved head of Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith.
On Monday, March 29, Williams, via his son Chavoita LeSane, told NBC News, “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.”
LeSane said his father was just as surprised as anyone when Smith smacked Rock while onstage after the funnyman told Pinkett Smith, who is currently suffering from alopecia, which causes hair loss, “Jada, I love ya. G.I. Jane 2, can’t wait to see ya.”
Still, when asked about Smith’s acceptance speech, during which he tearfully apologized to the Academy and his fellow nominees, neither LeSane nor his 80-year-old father cared to elaborate.
Many people have weighed in on the incident, with Smith receiving a lot of backlash from the comedy world, including comedian Kathy Griffin who wrote on Twitter, “Let me tell you something, it’s a very bad practice to walk up on stage and physically assault a comedian. Now we all have to worry about who wants to be the next Will Smith in comedy clubs and theaters.”
Smith took to his Instagram page Monday evening, where he delivered an official statement on the matter. He stated, “Violence in all of its forms is poisonous and destructive. My behavior at last night’s Academy Awards was unacceptable and inexcusable. Jokes at my expense are a part of the job, but a joke about Jada’s medical condition was too much for me to bear and I reacted emotionally.”
He continued, “I would like to publicly apologize to you, Chris. I was out of line and I was wrong. I am embarrassed and my actions were not indicative of the man I want to be. There is no place for violence in a world of love and kindness. ”
In the comment-restricted post, he again apologized to the “Academy, the producers of the show, all the attendees and everyone watching around the world.” He added, “I would like to apologize to the Williams Family and my King Richard Family. I deeply regret that my behavior has stained what has been an otherwise gorgeous journey for all of us. I am a work in progress.”