Serena Williams Breaks Silence On Will Smith's Oscars Slap
Serena Williams has spoken out publicly for the first time about actor Will Smithslapping comedian Chris Rock onstage at the Oscars last year.
Smith portrayed the tennis legend’s father in the biopic “King Richard,” which Williams executive-produced with her sisters.
During an interview on “CBS Mornings” on Wednesday, host Gayle King referred to the incident, noting that “‘King Richard’ had that moment at the Oscars.”
“What did you feel about that?” she asked Williams.
Serena Williams, Will Smith and Venus Williams arrive for the 33rd Annual Producers Guild Awards in Los Angeles on March 19, 2022.
“I thought it was such an incredible film, and I feel that there was an incredible film after that with Questlove that kinda was overshadowed,” the 23-time Grand Slam winner responded, referring to “Summer of Soul,” the Oscar-winning documentary that was being awarded when the altercation broke out.
“But, I also feel that I’ve been in a position where I’ve been under a lot of pressure and I’ve made a tremendous amount of mistakes,” she added. “And I’m the kind of person that’s like ― ‘I’ve been there. I’ve made a mistake. It’s not the end of the world.’”
“We’re all imperfect and we’re all human, and let’s just be kind to each other,” she added, telling viewers that that kind of sentiment was “often forgotten.”
At the 2022 awards show, Rock joked onstage about the appearance of Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, who has been open about having alopecia, a condition that causes hair loss.
Upon hearing the joke, Smith shouted angrily at Rock before walking up onstage to slap him.
Four months later, the “Bad Boys” actor released a nearly six-minute video on his YouTube channel to address the altercation. He said he was “deeply remorseful” for his actions and called his behavior “unacceptable.”
Smith is banned from attending the Oscars, or any Academy Award-related event or program, for 10 years.