Tyler Perry opened up about Will Smith’s now-iconic Oscar slap and said he wanted to comfort both men.
Being close friends with Chris Rock and Will Smith hasn’t been easy for Tyler Perry, who was present at the Oscars in February when the “Men In Black” star slapped Chris across the face.
During a conversation with Gayle King as part of the Directors Series at the Tribeca Film Festival on Monday, Tyler recounted his shock after witnessing the now-infamous incident as he candidly discussed the aftermath of the situation that stunned not just Hollywood but millions of viewers at home.
Though reluctant to talk about the subject, Perry said that he did not like people believing that he only came to Smith’s rescue.
“I was there close up, I left early to go and check on Chris because it was wrong in no uncertain terms,” the 52-year-old expressed about the slap, adding that he made sure to tell Will that his actions were out of line. But it appeared that Will was just as stunned by his unusual outburst as his industry peers, with Tyler going on to mention how the father-of-three ended up feeling “devastated” by the fiasco. “He couldn’t believe what happened.”
“There is a difference between comforting and de-escalating,” Perry shared with King. Later on, he explained that he went to check on Rock and made sure he told Smith that his actions were inappropriate. He said that the “Bad Boys” actor was “devastated” over his actions and even shocked that he had assaulted Rock.
Smith notoriously slapped Chris Rock at the 2022 Oscars for joking about his wife Jada Pinkett-Smith being bald. Pinkett-Smith suffers from alopecia, and when Rock made the joke, the “Set It Off” actress was visibly upset. Perry and Denzel Washington were seen speaking with Smith following the slap.
Even though the “Madea” creator shared his two cents on the matter, he did admit that he was not happy to be speaking about the issue in detail.
“If I talk about it, then it becomes overshadowing everything else we talked about. That will be the headline for sure,” Perry said to King.
Smith continues to keep a low profile following the slap. After issuing his public apology and accepting his ban from the Academy, he pretty much fell silent on social media and is said to be focusing on healing.