Richard Williams has responded to Will Smith’s slap of comedian Chris Rock at the Academy Awards on Sunday night.
The slap heard round the world has provoked reaction from many who saw it. Richard Williams, through his son, condemned violence.
“We don’t know all the details of what happened,” Richard Williams, through his son Chavoita LeSane, told NBC News. “But we don’t condone anyone hitting anyone else unless it’s in self-defense.”
Smith, who won the Academy Award for his portrayal of Richard Williams in the film “King Richard” stunned audience members and millions of viewers world-wide, when he walked up on stage and slapped Rock across the face after the Brooklyn-born comedian made a GI Jane joke about Smith’s wife, actress Jada Pinkett Smith.
Initially, Smith was seen smiling after the joke while his wife rolled her eyes. Then, Smith stood up, walked on stage and slapped Rock whose hands were behind his back.
Minutes later, the star received the Oscar for best actor and gave a tearful, meandering speech where he spoke about “protecting” his family like Richard Williams.
The bizarre scene detracted from what should have been a celebration of the Williams family’s story and how father Richard and mother Oracene guided Venus and Serena from the cracked public courts of Compton, California to game-changing Grand Slam champions.
Will Smith has since issued a public apology on social media though it’s not known if he has personally apologized to Rock or the Williams family for his violent behavior.
Photo credit: Academy Awards