Tyler Perry Says He Was ‘De-Escalating’ the Situation, Not Comforting Will Smith, After Oscars Slap

Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

During a storyteller conversation with Gayle King at Tribeca Film Festival, Tyler Perry spoke publicly for the first time about the moments after Will Smith infamously slapped Chris Rock at the Oscars. Perry was seen speaking to Smith after the incident, but the actor-director-producer made it clear that he was “de-escalating” the situation, rather than comforting Smith.

“I was there close up, I left early to go and check on Chris because it was wrong in no uncertain terms,” Perry said. “I made sure I said that to Will, and when we walked over to him, he was devastated. He couldn’t believe what happened.”

He continued, “I think he is very much in reflection of trying to figure out what happened.”

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Perry went on to cite Smith’s best-selling memoir “Will,” where the Oscar-winning actor illustrated a moment when he was not able to protect his mother at 8 years old.

“I know that feeling, I’m getting chills thinking about it,” Perry said. “I know that feeling of being a man and thinking about the little boy. If that trauma is not dealt with right away as you get older, it will show up in the most inappropriate, most horrible time.”

But when King asked if Perry was comforting Smith at that moment, he made a clear distinction.

“There’s a difference between comforting and de-escalating,” Perry said. “Being friends with both of them, it’s been very difficult.”

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SOURCE: Variety, Antonio Ferme

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