Tyler Perry reveals what he said to Will Smith in the aftermath of Chris Rock slap

‘When we walked over to him, he was devastated,’ Perry recalled

Moment Will Smith slaps Chris Rock at the 2022 Oscars

Tyler Perry has clarified the significance of a photo with Will Smith taken in the immediate aftermath of the controversial Oscars slap.

Actor and producer Perry was seen with Smith during the first break in the broadcast after the Bad Boys star walked on stage and slapped Chris Rock because the comedian made a joke about his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith.

“Jada, I love you. GI Jane 2, can’t wait to see you,” Rock said in an apparent reference to Pinkett Smith’s shaved head. Pinkett Smith stated last year that she shaved her head after struggling with alopecia.

After striking Rock, Smith returned to his seat, and shouted: “Keep my wife’s name out your f***ing mouth.”

Shortly after, a video of Smith alongside Perry, as well as Bradley Cooper and Denzel Washington, was shared online. Smith, during his Best Actor acceptance speech for King Richard later in the ceremony, revealed what Washington had whispered in his ear.

Until now, it wasn’t clear what Perry had said but, in a conversation with Gayle King as part of the Tribeca Film Festival’s Directors Series on Monday (13 June), the Gone Girl actor explained that the articles saying he was “comforting” Smith were inaccurate.

“There’s a difference between comforting and de-escalating,” People reports Perry as saying at the New York event, adding: “That’s number one.”

He continued: “And I left early to get to Chris to make sure he was OK. Being friends with both of them has been very difficult.”

Revealing what his exchange with Smith had looked like, Perry said the actor’s behaviour was “wrong in no uncertain terms, and I made sure I said that to Will”.

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Tyler perry said he ‘de-escalated’ thre situation after Will Smith slapped chris Rock

“And I’ll tell you, when we walked over to him, he was devastated. He couldn’t believe what happened. He couldn’t believe he did it.’ I’m looking at this man in his eyes going, ‘What are you doing? This is your night.’ And to get all the way to this moment, winning an Oscar, that was one of the crowning moments of his career that he wanted so desperately, and to have something like that happen.”

Smith apologised for the incident and, after resigning as a member of the Academy, had his Oscar privileges revoked for 10 years after an official ruling by the awards body.

Perry, who called Rock “a pure champion for the way he handled it”, continued: “But I want you to understand that something happened that was extremely painful for [Smith] as well. That is no excuse. He was completely wrong for what he did. But something triggered him – that is so out of everything he is.”

In May, Rock made a joke about the Smith incident after Dave Chappelle was attacked on stage in Los Angeles by an audience member.

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