By now, a large percentage of the population is aware of Will Smith striking Chris Rock for making a joke about his wife, Jada Pinkett-Smith, and the scenes of Tyler Perry and Denzel Washington at Smith’s page shortly afterward. During Monday’s conversation with Gayle King as part of the Tribeca Film Festival’s Directors Series in New York City, Perry addressed the issue that took place at the 2022 Academy Awards ceremony.
Many questioned the assumed comfort given to Smith by both Washington and Perry, but the Madea star and creator had this to say during his interview with King.
“There’s a difference between comforting and deescalating, that’s No.1. And I left early to get to Chris to make sure he was okay. Being friends with both of them has been very difficult. ”
Perry Explains Being Caught Between a Rock and a Hard Place
Since the incident, Smith has been banned from attending the Oscars for ten years, released an apologetic statement, seen his projects be put on hold and has largely stayed out of sight. Meanwhile, Chris Rock has moved on with comedy gigs. In the meantime, Perry is offering clarification as to his role on that eventful evening. The filmmaker went on to say:
Trust me, as painful as it was for all of us in the room, it was as painful for Chris, who was a pure champion for the way he handled it. But I want you to understand that some happened that was extremely painful for [Will] as well. That is no excuse. He was completely wrong for what he did. But something triggered him – that is so out of everything he is. “
Perry, who has had his life experiences with tough times and trauma, agreed that Smith’s outburst was “wrong and in no uncertain terms, and I made sure I said that to Will.” He added:
“And I’ll tell you, when we walked over to him, he was devastated. He could not believe what happened. He could not believe he did it. I’m looking at this man in his eyes going, ‘What are you doing?’ This is your night. ‘ And to get all the way to this moment, winning an Oscar, that was one of the crowning moments of his career that he wanted so desperately, and to have something like that happen… ”
Tyler Perry further stated that as someone who could relate to being a child unable to protect his mother, if that trauma is not dealt with right away, it will show up in the most inappropriate, most horrible time as you get older.