Tyler Perry Clarifies He Was “De-escalating” the Situation Not “Comforting” Will Smith After Oscars Slap

Tyler Perry Clarifies He Was “De-escalating” the Situation Not “Comforting” Will Smith After Oscars Slap

While speaking with Gayle King for a Tribeca Festival chat in New York City on Monday, Tyler Perry clarified something when the topic of Will Smith slapping Chris Rock at the 2022 Oscars came up.

During the wide-ranging conversation, the prolific producer was asked if Will Smith would keep his namesake soundstage at Tyler Perry Studios, as the 12 stages are named after someone Perry admires. This question caused a notable hesitation to discuss the now-famous moment.

” If I talk about it it becomes overshadowing all the other topics we discussed. He said, “That will be the headline for certain.”

But, he wanted to clarify reports that Smith was “comforted” after the onstage attack. Perry, along with Denzel Washington and Bradley Cooper, were all seen approaching Smith in the audience after the moment and looked to be consoling the King Richard star, who would go on to claim the night’s best actor trophy.

“There is a difference between comforting or de-escalating. That’s number one,” Perry explained to King. “It was very difficult to be friends with both of them.” Being friends with both of them has been very difficult.”

Perry stated that he left the show before Rock started, “because [the slap], was wrong in all clear terms and I made sure to say that to Will .”

When Perry approached Smith, he said the actor was “devastated” and “couldn’t believe what happened.”

“He couldn’t believe he did that,” Perry recalled about Smith. “And I’m staring at this man in his eyes, wondering, ‘What are your doing? This is your night. ‘”

He said, “And to get all of the way to this moment of winning an Oscar, that was one the crowning moments in his career that he so desperately wanted to achieve.”

And to have something like that happen, I think he is very much in reflection of trying to figure out what happened.”

Perry said to King that he thought Rock was making fun of Smith’s wife Jada Pinkett Smith. Smith has alopecia and a shaved head “triggered something” in Smith to act out of character.

” And as painful as it was to all of us in that room, it was equally painful for Chris, who was a true champion for the way he handled the situation,” Perry stated. “But I want to make it clear that something also happened that was very painful for [Will]. This is no excuse. He was totally wrong for what he did. But something got him going .”


Smith, who has since apologized for slapping Rock, has been banned from attending the Oscars or any Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences event for 10 years. On a recent episode of her Red Table Talk series, Jada Pinkett Smith said of her husband and Rock, “My deepest hope is that these two intelligent, capable men have an opportunity to heal, talk this out and reconcile.”

Rock, meanwhile, has been briefly joking about the incident when taking the comedy stage, and has lined up a London stand-up show with co-headliner Dave Chappelle, who was also recently attacked onstage during stand-up comedy set.

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