Tyler Perry opened up about speaking with Will Smith after he slapped Chris Rock at the 2022 Oscars. He was asked about the situation by Gayle King during a Q&A at the Tribeca Festival, as Deadline reports.
“There is a difference between comforting and de-escalating,” Perry said when the slap came up.
King asked if Smith would continue to be the namesake of a soundstage at Tyler Perry Studios.
“My only problem with is this. If I talk about it, then it [will be] overshadowing everything else we talked about. That will be the headline for sure," Smith told King.
“I was there, close up,” he added. I left early to go and check on Chris because it was wrong in no uncertain terms and I made sure I said that to Will.”
Speak of Smith’s perspective, Perry said the actor “was devastated.”
“He couldn’t believe what happened,” Perry continued. “He couldn’t believe he did it. And I’m looking at this man, in his eyes going, ‘What are you doing? This is your night… And to get all this way to winning an Oscar. It was one of the crowning moments of his career that he wanted so desperately.”
He also said it is a moment of reflection for Smith.
“I think he is very much in reflection of trying to figure out what happened,” he said, also bringing up what he talked about from his childhood in his recent memoir. “I know that feeling…. And if that trauma is not dealt with right away as you get older, it will show up in the most inappropriate and horrible times.”
As he's friends with Smith and Rock, he called the situation "very difficult."
Perry said Rock “was a pure champion the way he handled it,” but that “something happened that was extremely painful for [Smith] as well. It’s no excuse, he was completely wrong, but something triggered. That was so out of everything he is. I feel very uncomfortable. I don’t feel it is my story to tell.”
Smith resigned from the Academy before they levied a 10-year ban against him.
Before this, he also posted a statement on social media.
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