Denzel Washington comments on Will Smith’s Oscar slap: ‘Who are we to condemn?’

Washington spoke about the incident during a leadership summit master class hosted by Bishop T.D. Jakes.

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Will Smith invoked the words of Denzel Washington during his Best Actor acceptance speech at the 94th Oscars. Now, Washington is weighing in on the King Richard actor and his infamous Oscars slap.

Washington spoke about the controversial incident at a leadership summit master class hosted by Bishop T.D. Jakes. While discussing matters of faith and his life’s work, Washington gave this take on the matter.

“Well, there’s a saying, ‘When the devil ignores you, then you know you’re doing something wrong.’ The devil goes, ‘Oh no, leave him alone, he’s my favorite,’” Washington told Jakes. “Conversely, when the devil comes at you, maybe it’s because he’s trying to do something right. And for whatever reason, the devil got ahold of that circumstance that night.”

Smith slapped Rock after the comedian made a joke about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith while presenting the Best Documentary Feature Award. Rock made a quip about Pinkett Smith’s short hair, prompting Smith to approach Rock during the live broadcast and smack him across the face before returning to his seat.

Footage showed Smith being spoken to by Washington, as well as Tyler Perry after the slap took place.

“Fortunately there were people there. Not just me, but others,” Washington continued. “Tyler Perry came immediately right over there with me. [Said] some prayers. I don’t wanna say what we talked about, but for the grace of God go any of us. Who are we to condemn? I don’t know all the ins and outs of the situation, but I know the only solution was prayer, the way I see it.”

Later in the evening, Smith accepted the Best Actor Oscar for his role in King Richard. It was during the speech that Smith took time to thank Washington for his counsel earlier on. He said Washington told him, “At your highest moment, be careful, that’s when the devil comes for you.” Washington was also a nominee for Best Actor for his role in The Tragedy of Macbeth.

Smith apologized to Rock and the Academy the following day on his Instagram page.

Earlier this week, he voluntarily resigned as a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. It was reported on Monday that development for two films that Smith was attached to star in was put on hold; Netflix’s Fast and Loose, and Sony’s Bad Boys 4.

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