Richard Williams, the father of Venus and Serena, says that Will Smith should be forgiven for slapping comedian Chris Rock at the Academy Awards last year. Williams also said that Smith’s Oscars ban should be lifted during an interview with “Good Morning Britain” which aired on March 6.
Smith infamously slapped Rock during the live ceremony in Los Angeles back in 2022 after Rock made a joke about his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith.
Williams is currently recovering from having several strokes and brain surgery, but he was able to communicate well with reporter Noel Phillips. Smith won an Academy Award for his portrayal of Williams in the film “King Richard,” and Phillips asked him if he still stood by Smith.
“Yeah. I’ll always stand by him. I think he’s done the best that he needed to,” said Williams. “I would never be disgusted with Mr. Smith. Matter of fact, I appreciate Mr. Smith. I don’t see nothing wrong with him.”
Williams went on to say that Smith should be forgiven. “No one should criticize a person on and on and on and on,” he said. “So, I think he’s done extremely well. And I really appreciate him very, very well. And I really welcome him.”
When asked if Smith’s 10-year ban from attending the Academy Awards presentation ceremony should be lifted, he said it should.
“It definitely should be,” he said. “It should be just one day. Or no more than one week at the most.” Williams was asked if he felt sorry for Rock, and he replied, “No, I don’t feel sorry for no one.”
The former coach added that if someone tried to hurt his daughters Venus and Serena, he’d teach them to defend themselves. He also did not mince words when asked what he thought about people who might say he shouldn’t defend Smith.
“I don’t give a damn what no one says about me good or bad,” said Williams. “People are always gonna be criticizing Black people around the whole damn world, even in London.”
The 81-year-old went on to say that he thought Smith was restrained during the slap and noted that it was an overreaction for the Academy to have a crisis team in place at this year’s ceremony. “I think it’s an extreme reaction.”