Portrait of Chris Rock & Will Smith

Richard Williams Shares His Thoughts On The Oscar Slap Incident

Home / News / Richard Williams Shares His Thoughts On The Oscar Slap Incident

By Fiyin Olowokandi on March 30, 2022 at 6:00 PM EDT

Retired American tennis coach Richard Williams, also the father of tennis icons Venus and Serena Williams, was as surprised as everyone when the slapping incident occurred during the 94th Academy Awards.

Will Smith won his first Oscars at the event for his role as Richard in "King Richard" and was also a culprit of the incident.

The experienced tennis coach recently voiced his opinions about the occurrence through his son Chavoita LeSane.

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Richard Williams Speaks Up Regarding Will Smith And Chris Rock’s Oscars Scene

NBC News reported that Richard spoke up the day after the Oscars scene involving Will and Chris Rock, saying he condemns violence. Rock had made a joke about Jada Pinkett-Smith, hence the actor’s retaliation.

The 80-year-old told the news outlet via LeSane, "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."

The old-timer did not say anything more beyond his statement when asked to comment on Will’s Oscars acceptance speech which was also an apology.

LeSane has been Richard’s spokesperson since he had a stroke in 2016. He was reported stable at the time but has had more ensuing strokes.

The "Bright" actor’s speech was reportedly not directed to Rock but to the Academy Award and the nominees at the honorary ceremony.

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However, he recently shared a sincere apologetic message on Instagram to the comedian and others but disabled the comments.

The Blast shared that the message began, "Violence in all of its forms is poisonous and destructive. My behavior at last night’s Academy Awards was unacceptable and inexcusable."

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Will Smith slapped Chris Rock for joke on wife Jada
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"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. I would like to publicly apologize to you, Chris. I was out of line, and I was wrong," Will continued.

He further wrote there was no place for violence in a world of love and kindness as he was embarrassed for his actions which did not indicate the man he wanted to be.

The talented entertainer apologized to the Academy, the show's producers, the attendees, viewers worldwide, his cast mates, and even the Williams family.

He felt remorse for his actions and concluded his message with, “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. Sincerely, Will.” 

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According to the LAPD's issued statement, Rock did not press charges against Will. The report revealed the department was aware of the incident at the Academy Awards program involving one individual slapping another.

“The individual involved has declined to file a police report. If the involved party desires a police report at a later date, LAPD will be available to complete an investigative report,” the statement noted.

On the other hand, the Academy may not be as forgiving as they publicly condemned Will’s actions and have officially begun a formal review around the occurrence to carry out disciplinary action according to the law.

Based on the establishment’s law or otherwise referred to as Standards of Conduct, people believe the 53-year-old producer may be suspended or expelled, and his first-ever Oscars could be taken from him.

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Will Smith Was Slapped With A Lawsuit For The "King Richard" Biopic

Will Smith

In 2020, The Blast reported that Will’s production company Overbrook Entertainment and Richard were sued by TW3 Entertainment and Power Move Multi Media Inc. for filming the biopic “King Richard.” 

Details of the lawsuit, as was revealed by the media channel, showed that there was a breach of contract on the defendants’ parts and some other allegations. The accusers wrote in the proceedings:

"This case presents an unfortunate and tawdry situation: the cold and calculating misappropriation and interference with Plaintiffs’ intellectual property. Plaintiffs’ good faith and contractually protected efforts to bring an amazing story into visual art form were met with Defendants’ greed and disregard for Plaintiff’s existing rights."

TW3 Entertainment and Power Move Multi Media Inc. claimed the tennis coach was the author of “Black and White: The Way I See It,” first published in 2014 and detailed his life experiences.

They previously worked out a deal in 2017 to purchase the book rights for $10,000 from Richard’s son, who served as his legal representative regarding the memoir.

The plaintiffs worked on the story and pitched it to Warner Bros, who were initially interested in making a deal but later showed no interest. Richard's son informed them a bit after that they could do a miniseries but not a film.

Eventually, the media houses learned of Will’s part in the production and sued. TW3 mentioned that they tried to work everything out before production began; however, they failed.

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