Tyler Perry denied media claims that he had consoled Will Smith after he smacked Chris Rock at the Oscars in a recent interview with Gayle King at the Tribeca Festival.
The multi-billionaire director reportedly avoided the subject at first, according to Deadline. The King Richard actor’s feelings, Perry acknowledged, were understandable even if he had “gone early to get to Chris to make sure he was okay.”
There is a distinction between consoling and defusing tension, according to Perry.
But when King asked if one of the soundstages at the Tyler Perry Studios would continue to bear the name of Smith, Perry replied saying touching on the topic in question will relegate other conversations they had to the background.
“My only problem with it is this. If I talk about it, then it becomes overshadows everything else we talked about. That will be the headline for sure,” Perry said. As part of moves to honor black people who have made notable strides in Hollywood, Perry named the soundstages of his studios after some Black Hollywood legends. “We can make another headline,” King responded in a light-hearted manner. “I am pregnant with Tyler’s child. That’s the headline.” Perry then said: “I was there, close up. I left early to go and check on Chris because it was wrong in no uncertain terms and I made sure I said that to Will.” The filmmaker and actor also revealed that Smith was “devastated” in the wake of the controversial slap.
“He couldn’t believe what happened. He couldn’t believe he did it,” Perry recalled. “And I’m looking at this man, in his eyes going, ‘What are you doing? This is your night… And to get all this way to winning an Oscar. It was one of the crowning moments of his career that he wanted so desperately.” Smith, who has since been banned from the Oscars for ten years, later took home the Oscar for best actor for his role in the King Richard movie. “I think he is very much in reflection, trying to figure out what happened,” Perry continued.
The 52-year-old also highlighted a part in Smith’s memoir where he recalled not being able to protect his mother from his abusive father when he was 8 years old.
I recognize the sensation. And as you get older, if that trauma is not addressed right away, it will manifest itself in the most inappropriate and horrific situations,” Perry added, adding that the contentious incident “was really tough” because Rock and Smith are both his friends.
For how he handled the physical altercation, the Madea actor referred to Rock as a “pure champion.” But he also said that “something happened that was really unpleasant for [Smith] as well. It’s not an excuse; he was entirely mistaken, but there was a trigger. That was completely out of character for him.
“I’m in a pretty awkward situation. I don’t think that belongs in my tale, Perry continued.