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(Video Credit: Access)
Retired coach and father to tennis legends Serena and Venus Williams, Richard Williams, weighed in on actor Will Smith slapping comedian Chris Rock during the Academy Awards on Sunday, stating via his son that “we don’t condone anyone hitting anyone else unless it’s in self-defense.”
Smith won Best Actor for his portrayal of Richard Williams, 80, in “King Richard,” which depicts the tennis stars’ rise to fame as they were growing up and the family ties that held them together.
The Academy Awards should have been a night for the sisters to shine as well as Smith for his performance, but it was marred by the actor storming the stage and brutally smacking Chris Rock. Serena Williams did a brief viral clip showing her shock over the development.
“We don’t know all the details of what happened, but we don’t condone anyone hitting anyone else unless it’s in self-defense,” Richard Williams said via his spokesman and son Chavoita LeSane to NBC News.
(Video Credit: The Daily Mail)
LeSane, who has been acting as his father’s spokesman since he had a stroke, claims that his father was shocked when Smith hit the comedian at the Oscars over a joke about his wife Jada Pinkett-Smith’s hair and then yelled from his seat, “Keep my wife’s name out of your f**ing mouth!”
Richard Williams had no further comment.
VIA JAPANESE TELEVISION: The uncensored exchange between Will Smith and Chris Rock pic.twitter.com/j0Z184ZyXa
— Timothy Burke (@bubbaprog) March 28, 2022
Sabrina Richards, 57, who is the half-sister of Serena and Venus and is estranged from her father, is calling Smith’s slap an assault and wants him to be stripped of his Oscar and banned from future award ceremonies.
She told The Sun that Smith went “overboard” and there was a “time and a place” to settle disputes, but that wasn’t it. She identifies with Jada Pinkett Smith because they both suffer from alopecia which causes hair loss. However, she says that it doesn’t justify violence on Smith’s part.
“If they don’t take the thing from him, they should ban him from attending the event ever again, as that’s just ridiculous,” she told the media outlet. “I have no sympathy for him because that’s just irresponsible behavior.”
The sibling went on to say that Smith should get counseling and then branded him an “entitled actor” for getting away with slapping Rock in front of millions of viewers.
“Did [Will Smith] learn the violence from my dad as well? Maybe he took the thing too literally,” she said referring to alleged domestic abuse by Williams against his ex-wife, a charge he has denied.
“Art imitates life. I look like the crazy father, just like they said about Richard Williams. But love will make you do crazy things,” Smith said during his acceptance speech.
Somebody tell Will Smith he’s an actor and NOT Richard Williams, please. I protect my loved ones, too, but I don’t need to punch anyone. This just smacked (literally) of posturing. #Oscars2022
— Jaci Stephen (@welshjaci) March 28, 2022
On Monday, Smith issued a formal apology to Rock and everyone else, “My behavior at last night’s Academy Awards was unacceptable and inexcusable. Jokes at my expense are a part of the job, but a joke about Jada’s medical condition was too much for me to bear and I reacted emotionally.”
“I would like to publicly apologize to you, Chris. I was out of line and I was wrong. I am embarrassed and my actions were not indicative of the man I want to be. There is no place for violence in a world of love and kindness,” he continued.
“I would also like to apologize to the Academy, the producers of the show, all the attendees and everyone watching around the world. I would like to apologize to the Williams Family and my ‘King Richard’ family. I deeply regret that my behavior has stained what has been an otherwise gorgeous journey for all of us,” the actor added. “I am a work in progress. Sincerely, Will.”
Will Smith has issued a full apology for his actions at last night’s #Oscars pic.twitter.com/rMjvccflvC
— DiscussingFilm (@DiscussingFilm) March 28, 2022
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