Richard Williams has weighed in on Will Smith’s controversial actions at the Academy Awards on Sunday night, when the actor walked on stage and slapped Chris Rock after the comedian made a joke about his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, during the ceremony.Shortly after the altercation, Smith won the Oscar for best actor for his portrayal of Richard Williams, the tennis coach father to Venus and Serena Williams, in “King Richard.”
“We don’t know all the details of what happened,” Richard Williams told NBC News, via his son Chavoita LeSane. “But we don’t condone anyone hitting anyone else unless it’s in self-defense.”
The incident between Smith and Rock stunned audiences, both inside the Dolby Theatre and watching from home, as it was not immediately clear whether the interaction was a staged skit.
In his acceptance speech for best actor, Smith apologized to the Academy and his fellow nominees, though he did not address Rock during the evening. Smith later released an apology to Rock on Monday afternoon, expressing remorse over his actions.
“Violence in all of its forms is poisonous and destructive. My behavior at last night’s Academy Awards was unacceptable and inexcusable. Jokes at my expense are part of the job, but a joke about Jada’s medical condition was too much for me to bear and I reacted emotionally,” Smith wrote.
“I would like to publicly apologize to you, Chris. I was out of line and I was wrong. I am embarrassed and my actions were not indicative of the man I want to be. There is no place for violence in a world of love and kindness.”