It was the slap that overshadowed the Oscars – and now Richard Williams has had his say on the incident between Will Smith and Chris Rock.
In what should have been a memorable night in Smith’s illustrious Hollywood career, the American won best actor for his role in the film ‘King Richard’, which follow the life of the famous tennis coach. The plot outlines how he trained up daughters Venus and Serena, both executive producers of the film, to be world famous players.
Indeed, Serena now has 23 Grand Slam titles to her name, just one behind Margaret Court’s all-time record. Venus has won seven, including five titles at Wimbledon.
The siblings have also teamed up to win every Grand Slam doubles’ title on offer, as well as three Olympic gold medals together in Sydney , Beijing , and London . And sure enough, both were in attendance in Los Angeles on Sunday night, only to be left stunned by what transpired.
Prior to picking up his award, Smith took exception to Rock referring to his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, as ‘GI Jane 2.’ Pinkett Smith has publicly spoken about her struggles with alopecia since being diagnosed with the condition in 2018.
As a result, she’s since shaved all her hair off, and looked notably unimpressed when Rock made his joke. Just moments later, husband Smith stormed onto the stage and slapped Rock in the face, before returning to his seat and loudly telling the comedian to “keep my wife’s name out your f***ing mouth
In his Oscar acceptance speech, Smith referenced Williams senior when explaining his actions. “Richard Williams was a fierce defender of his family,” Smith said. “In this time in my life, I am overwhelmed by what God is calling on me to do and be in this world.”
The Academy has since condemned the 53-year-old’s actions, and Smith has issued a public apology to Rock. And now the real ‘King Richard’ has weighed in, although he was cautious about fully judging Smith’s actions.