Tyler Perry is making his stance on the Will Smith–Chris Rock slapping incident very clear.
After that shocking 2022 Oscars moment, Perry was photographed talking to Smith and placing his hand on his shoulder. And during a June 13 talk with Gayle King at New York’s Tribeca Festival, the director clarified he wasn’t taking anyone’s side. As he put it, per Deadline, “There is a difference between comforting and deescalating.”
Indeed, Perry noted he also wanted to see if Rock was OK. “I was there, close up,” he recalled, per the outlet. “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.”
Looking back at that moment, Perry said Smith, who won the Best Actor in a Leading Role accolade for his role in King Richard that night, “was devastated.”
“He couldn’t believe what happened,” the Madea star reportedly added. “He couldn’t believe he did it. 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.”