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Tyler Perry Clarifies Interaction With Will Smith After Actor Slapped Chris Rock At Oscars

Tyler Perry and Will Smith
(Image credit: Netflix/WB)

Months have passed since the infamous Oscar slap when Will Smith struck Chris Rock live on the Oscars stage. However, it’s still a major topic of conversation around Hollywood. Punishments have been handed down and many have spoken about the event, but now Tyler Perry is looking to clarify his own actions following the slap. He was not comforting Will Smith, he was trying to de-escalate the situation.

Recent reports claimed that following the on-stage altercation, Tyler Perry spoke to Will Smith and tried to comfort him. However, in a recent interview at the Tribeca Film Festival, (via Deadline) Perry says that after getting a very close seat to the slap, he checked on both men, and made sure Will Smith knew he did not approve of what the King Richard actor had done. Perry explained…

I was there, close up. I left early to go and check on Chris because it was wrong in no uncertain terms and I made sure I said that to Will.

Many people have jumped to the defense of both men following the altercation. Chris Rock told a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith which Will Smith did not like, and it resulted the slap happening on the stage. This was followed, not long after, by Will Smith winning the Academy Award for Best Actor, leading to a fairly awkward acceptance speech.

For the most part, it’s agreed that Will Smith was the one primarily in the wrong, that while Chris Rock’s joke may have been in poor taste, Smith’s shift to physical violence in response was taking things too far. And while Tyler Perry does not condone Smith’s action, he does at least understand where they came from. He also says that, after the fact, even Will Smith was shocked by what he had done. Perry continues…

[Will Smith] was devastated. He couldn’t believe what happened. He couldn’t believe he did it. And I’m looking at this man, in his eyes going, ‘What are you doing? This is your night’… And to get all this way to winning an Oscar. It was one of the crowning moments of his career that he wanted so desperately.

In response to the slap, Will Smith was barred from attending the Academy Awards for a period of 10 years. Prior to that, Smith voluntarily chose to renounce his membership in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences. He was allowed to keep the Academy Award he won that night, there were some who believed he should have been stripped of the award.

Beyond an apology from Will Smith posted to social media, the two men involved have said the least about what happened. Chris Rock is currently on a stand-up tour and is focused more on that. Will Smith’s movie career is in a sort of limbo as several projects Smith had been involved with have either been canceled outright or put on hold, though not all of that is reportedly due to the incident. 

Dirk Libbey
Dirk Libbey

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian. Armchair Imagineer. Epcot Stan. Future Club 33 Member.