Actor Denzel Washington spoke publicly Saturday about the Will Smith-Chris Rock slap at the 2022 Oscars.
Washington took the stage Saturday in conversation with author and pastor T.D. Jakes to discuss the “Equalizer” star’s career and faith, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The discussion at one point shifted to Smith’s behavior at the Oscars, where he leapt on stage and slapped presenter Chris Rock.
During the commercial break, Will Smith is pulled aside and comforted by Denzel Washington and Tyler Perry, who motion for him to brush it off. Will appears to wipe tears from his eyes as he sits back down with Jada, with Denzel comforting Jada and Will’s rep by his side. pic.twitter.com/uDGVnWrSS2
— Scott Feinberg (@ScottFeinberg) March 28, 2022
Washington and director Tyler Perry were spotted talking to Smith later in the night, THR reported. On Saturday, Jakes likened Washington talking to Smith after the slap to stepping “in the middle of World War III,” the outlet continued. (RELATED: Will Smith’s ‘Slapgate’ Has Fractured Both Political Parties)
“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,'” Washington reportedly told Jakes in an attempt to lighten the moment, before moving on to say, “Conversely, when the devil comes at you, maybe it’s because you’re trying to do something right. And for whatever reason, the devil got ahold of that circumstance that night.”
Washington and Perry surrounded Smith shortly after he slapped Rock, as seen in a video posted to Twitter. “I don’t know all the ins and outs of the situation, but I know the only solution was prayer,” Washington said, before later commenting, “I couldn’t have sat in my seat. No way I could have sat in my seat. That’s just not who I am,” according to THR.