A video shows Denzel Washington and Tyler Perry consoling Will Smith after the King Richard actor slapped presenter Chris Rock during Sunday's 2022 Oscars broadcast. The comedian cracked a joke about Smith's wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, who suffers from alopecia. "Jada, I love you. G.I. Jane 2, can't wait to see it," Rock said when presenting the award for Best Documentary. Smith, who was awarded Best Actor for his role as Richard Williams in King Richard later in the ceremony, breached the stage and smacked Rock in the face before yelling at Rock to "keep my wife's name out of your f—ing mouth."
"During the commercial break, Will Smith is pulled aside and comforted by Denzel Washington and Tyler Perry, who motion for him to brush it off," The Hollywood Reporter's Scott Feinberg captioned a video recorded in the aftermath of the smack. "Will appears to wipe tears from his eyes as he sits back down with Jada, with Denzel comforting Jada and Will's rep by his side."
During the commercial break, Will Smith is pulled aside and comforted by Denzel Washington and Tyler Perry, who motion for him to brush it off. Will appears to wipe tears from his eyes as he sits back down with Jada, with Denzel comforting Jada and Will’s rep by his side. pic.twitter.com/uDGVnWrSS2— Scott Feinberg (@ScottFeinberg) March 28, 2022
Though Smith didn't mention Rock by name, the first-time Oscar winner referenced the viral moment when tearfully accepting the award for Best Actor.
"Richard Williams was a fierce defender of his family," said Smith of the tennis coach father of Venus and Serena Williams. "I'm being called on in my life to love people. And to protect people. And to be a river to my people. I know to do what we do, you gotta be able to take abuse, you gotta be able to have people talk crazy about you. In this business, you gotta be able to have people disrespecting you. You gotta smile and you gotta pretend like that's okay."
Smith continued, "Denzel said to me a few minutes ago, 'At your highest moment, be careful. That's when the devil comes for you.'" Smith added he wants "to be a vessel for love" before thanking the cast and crew of King Richard and the Williams family.
"I want to apologize to the Academy. I want to apologize to all my fellow nominees," Smith said of nominees Washington, Javier Bardem, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Andrew Garfield.
"Art imitates life. I look like the crazy father, just like they said about Richard Williams," Smith quipped. "Thank you for this honor, thank you for this moment, I thank you on behalf of Richard and the entire Williams family." With a laugh, Smith concluded, "I hope the Academy invites me back."