Tyler Perry is opening up about the infamous slap that Will Smith gave Chris Rock. As you might know, the 2022 Oscars went down in history after Smith smacked the comedian following a “distasteful” joke.
Rock made a G.I Jane joke about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett-Smith, that was a jab at her alopecia condition. Smith wasn’t at all pleased by the remark and walked on stage mid award presentation to slap Rock.
The controversial event that went down on live TV has spurned several reactions, discourses, and opinions. However, now, Tyler Perry, one of the few people on the scene to quickly de-escalate the situation, is speaking up on the subject matter.
Perry, alongside veteran actor Denzel Washington, was photographed talking to Smith and Rock shortly after the unfortunate incident went down.
Tyler Perry Sets Record Straight About ‘Comforting’ Will Smith
Per People Magazine, Perry chatted with journalist Gayle King about the headline-making moment and clarified some things at the Tribeca Film Festival’s Directors Series in New York City on Monday.
When King asked if he and Washington were “comforting” the “King Richard” star when they were seen talking solemnly to him, the “A Madea Homecoming” star said:
“There’s a difference between comforting and deescalating, that’s number one. And I left early to get to Chris to make sure he was okay. Being friends with both of them has been very difficult.”
The renowned director and producer revealed that shortly after the photograph was taken he left early to go check on the “Grown Ups” star to make sure he was alright.
Perry explained that he made sure “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” star knew there was no excuse for what he did while remaining diplomatic with both parties.
Smith Felt ‘Devastated’ After The Slap
Terry then opened up about how Smith reacted to the atrocity he committed, saying the “Pursuit of Happyness” star was devastated by what he had done.
“Trust me, as painful as it was for all of us in the room, it was as painful for Chris, who was a pure champion for the way he handled it,” he explained. “But I want you to understand that something happened that was extremely painful for [Will] as well.”
The billionaire filmmaker clarified that he wasn’t making an excuse for Smith, but “something triggered him[Smith]” that made him act “out of everything he is.”
Perry continued, “And I’ll tell you, when we walked over to him, he was devastated. He couldn’t believe what happened. He couldn’t believe he did it. I’m looking at this man in his eyes going, ‘What are you doing? This is your night.'”
The “House of Payne” star added that he believes Smith is “in reflection” trying to understand what went wrong on that big night. He also referenced Smith’s memoir and the “Bad Boy” star’s revelation about not being able to protect his mother.
“I know that feeling — I’m getting chills just thinking about it. I know that feeling of being a man and thinking about the little boy,” Perry noted. “And if that trauma is not dealt with right away, as you get older, it will show up in the most inappropriate, most horrible time. I know Will. I know him well.”
Following the incident, Will offered a public apology to Rock, resigned from the Academy, and was banned from attending ceremonies for 10 years.
A Return To The Big Screen In The Works
Perry’s revelation comes out after it was reported that Smith is coming out of his healing hiatus to star in and produce a new exciting project.
As The Blast reported, Smith is set to take his throne in the sequel of “I Am Legend.”
The Pennsylvania native starred in the 2007 movie as the lead character, scientist Robert Neville, who is the world’s sole survivor after a plague extinguishes most of the world’s population and turns some people into monsters.
It is then up to Neville to find the cure to the plague and save the earth before it’s too late. Although the sequel hasn’t been publicly confirmed, a source revealed that “the script is being written mentioning his character, and as of yet, Will remains attached to the project.”
The insider warns that Warner Bros. is yet to sign off on the project but there’s no indication that he is off the project.
“Obviously, he is the producer of the film and his production company is in charge while the development continues. The reality is that Will will make a comeback at some point, and it will be simply down to which studio will be the one to take a chance on him,” the source explained.