Serena Williams is defending Will Smith, 54, nearly a year after after he shockingly slapped Chris Rock, 58, at the Oscars. The tennis icon, 41, said that “we’re all human” when discussing the March 2022 incident with Gayle King on CBS Mornings.
Serena developed a relationship with Will as he prepared to film King Richard, a biopic about her father Richard Williams and how he developed the careers of her and her sister Venus Williams. The role went on to earn Will a his first-ever Oscar in the Best Actor category — meaning he had a front row seat with wife Jada Pinkett-Smith all evening. Ahead of his big win, however, Will shockingly got up to slap Chris on-stage after the comedian made an inappropriate joke about Jada’s bald head — a direct result of her alopecia.
Immediately after the moment, Questlove came out to present an Oscar in the Best Documentary category for Summer of Soul. “I thought it was such an incredible film and I feel that there was an incredible film after that with Questlove that kind of was overshadowed,” Serena also said. “But I also feel that I’ve been in a position where I’ve been under a lot of pressure and made a tremendous amount of mistakes, and I’m the kind of person that’s just like, ‘I’ve been there. I’ve made a mistake. It’s not the end of the world.’”
“We’re all imperfect and we’re all human and let’s just be kind to each other. So, that’s often forgotten a lot,” she concluded.
Will has since apologized publicly and to Chris for the moment multiple times, including most recently with a July 29 Instagram video. “I’ve reached out to Chris and the message that came back is that he’s not ready to talk and when he is, he will reach out. So I will I will say to you, Chris, I apologize to you. My behavior was unacceptable,” Will said to the camera.
“I want to apologize to Chris’s mother. I saw an interview that Chris’s mother did. And that was one of the things about that moment I just didn’t realize. I wasn’t thinking but how many people got hurt in that moment. So I want to apologize to Chris’s mother. I want to apologize to Chris’s family. Specifically Tony Rock. We had a great relationship. Tony Rock was my man. And this probably irreparable,” he added.
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