Denzel Washington Breaks His Silence on Will Smith's Oscar Slap: 'Who Are We to Condemn?'

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Denzel Washington is opening up about Will Smith slapping Chris Rock at last weekend's Oscars.

The Training Day star attended a leadership summit for author and bishop T.D. Jakes on Saturday in Washington, D.C., where the discussion pivoted from the Oscar-winning actor's lifelong career in Hollywood and his faith, to what transpired between the King Richard star and the comedian.

"Well, there's a saying, 'When the devil ignores you, then you know you're doing something wrong.' The devil goes, 'Oh no, leave him alone, he's my favorite.' Conversely, when the devil comes at you, maybe it's because he's trying to do something right. And for whatever reason the devil got ahold of that circumstance that night," said Washington (via Variety).

Washington, who along with Tyler Perry comforted Smith following the confrontation, also added that he held a prayer with Smith following the incident.

"Fortunately there were people there," Washington said. "Not just me, but others. Tyler Perry came immediately right over there with me. [Said] some prayers. I don't wanna say what we talked about, but for the grace of God go any of us. Who are we to condemn? I don't know all the ins and outs of the situation, but I know the only solution was prayer, the way I see it."

Denzel Washington (L), US actor Will Smith (C) and US actor-producer Tyler Perry chat during the 94th Oscars at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, California on March 27, 2022.
ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images

Washington and Perry had a private moment with Smith inside the theater during commercial break after the shocking moment. They all hugged, and things seemed fine after. Washington was also seen stepping in between Rock and Smith, as Smith held hands with his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith.

A source told ET, "The theater was silent after Will got up and hit Chris. No one could tell if it was staged or a joke at first. Then Will started yelling at the top of his lungs and cursing out Chris. Chris was visibly shaken and the whole theater was dead silent."

Not long after the shocking moment unfolded, Smith won his first Oscar for his portrayal of Richard Williams -- the father of tennis superstars Venus and Serena Williams -- in King Richard. During his acceptance speech, Smith evoked Washington's name saying that the legendary actor spoke to him about the heated moment with Rock and warned him, "Be careful. At your highest moment, that's when the devil comes for you."

Smith has since apologized to Rock for the incident and resigned from the Academy.


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