Richard Williams says he doesn’t ‘condone’ hitting after the slap by Will Smith at the Oscars
Venus and Serena Williams' dad declared in a statement, "we don’t condone anyone hitting anyone else unless it’s in self-defense."
Richard Williams, who Will Smith played to Oscar-worthy heights in the film, King Richard, is speaking out about Smith’s controversial actions at the Academy Awards this weekend.
Williams, 80, released a statement through his son and spokesperson Chavoita LeSane, saying, “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,” according to NBC News.
Smith, who won his first Oscar for his portrayal of Venus and Serena Williams’ determined dad, slapped comedian Chris Rock — onstage to present an award — after he made a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith’s shaved head, calling her G.I. Jane.
LeSane said his father was as surprised as anyone when the incident occurred during Sunday night’s live production.
He declined to comment on Smith’s acceptance speech after he won the Oscar for Best Actor.
“The Slap,” as it has been dubbed, occurred before Smith’s emotional address, his Oscar in hand, when he likened defending his wife to Williams defending his daughters.
“I look like the crazy father, just like they said about Richard Williams,” Smith said. “But love will make you do crazy things.”
The Williams sisters have yet to comment on the incident.
This is not how you protect Black women
Rock said he was unaware Pinkett Smith struggles with alopecia, an autoimmune disorder.
On Monday, the Academy Awards released a statement on Twitter: “The Academy condemns the actions of Mr. Smith at last night’s show. We have officially started a formal review around the incident and will explore further action and consequences in accordance with our Bylaws, Standards of Conduct, and California law.”
Also on Monday, Smith released an apology on Instagram, saying his behavior was “unacceptable and inexcusable.”
“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,” he wrote. “I would like to publicly apologize to you, Chris. I was out of line and I was wrong. I am embarrassed and my actions were not indicative of the man I want to be. There is no place for violence in a world of love and kindness.”
“Violence in all of its forms,” Smith noted, “is poisonous and destructive.”
“I deeply regret that my behavior has stained what has been an otherwise gorgeous journey for all of us,” he wrote. “I am a work in progress.”
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