Serena Williams Empathizes With Will Smith's Shocking Oscar Slap Moment: 'I've Been There'
Serena Williams is breaking her silence on Will Smith's 2022 Oscars slap.
The 54-year-old played the role of her father, Richard Williams, in the award-winning biopic, King Richard, but his win was eclipsed by his shocking physical altercation with host Chris Rock.
Rock was on stage to present Questlove with the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature when he playfully referred to Jada Pinkett Smith — who suffers from alopecia — as "G.I. Jane." This prompted Smith to walk up on stage and smack the comedian across the face and warn him to "keep my wife's name out your f***ing mouth."
"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," Williams admitted to Gayle King on the Wednesday, February 1, CBS Mornings episode of Smith's public blow-up.
"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," Williams admitted. "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," the tennis star continued. "And I think that's often forgotten a lot."
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The incident became internationally infamous overnight with various television personalities, comedians and even Saturday Night Live referencing the surprising moment for weeks after the slap. And while the Bad Boys star eventually apologized to the Spiral actor, saying he was "fogged out" and that his "behavior was unacceptable," it still caused a major hit to his career.
The father-of-three — who shares Jaden, 24, and Willow, 22, with Pinkett Smith, as well as 30-year-old Trey with ex Sheree Zampino — resigned from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and was also separately banned from attending all Academy events, including the Oscars, for 10 years.
"My actions at the 94th Academy Awards presentation were shocking, painful, and inexcusable," Smith said at the time. "The list of those I have hurt is long and includes Chris, his family, many of my dear friends and loved ones, all those in attendance, and global audiences at home ... Change takes time and I am committed to doing the work to ensure that I never again allow violence to overtake reason."