Richard Williams, the father of tennis greats Serena and Venus, defended actor Will Smith for slapping comedian Chris Rock at the Oscars last year as the 2023 Academy Awards loom.
Rock made a joke about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, at last year’s show which prompted Smith to get up from his seat, storm the stage and slap the host. The incident marred the show as Smith won Best Actor for his portrayal of Richard Williams in the film “King Richard” – which was about the father of the tennis stars teaching and coaching his daughters.
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On Monday, Williams spoke to “Good Morning Britain” about the slap for the first time.
“I think he has done the best thing he needed to do, but I would never be disgusted with Mr. Smith. Matter of fact, I appreciate Mr. Smith,” Williams said.
Williams said he “didn’t feel sorry” for Rock.
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“It’s time for everyone to forgive Will Smith,” he added.
Last month, Serena Williams opened up about the Oscars slap and said she thought it “overshadowed” the film.
“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,” she told CBS’ Gayle King. “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 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.”
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Rock spoke about the slap in his new Netflix comedy special “Selective Outrage.”