Serena Williams Breaks Silence on Will Smith Oscar Slap: “We’re All Imperfect”
It’s been nearly a year since the Oscar slap heard round the world—and a key periphery player is finally breaking her silence on it. Will Smith won a best-actor Oscar for King Richard, in which he plays Venus and Serena Williams’s father, minutes after slapping Chris Rock for making a joke about his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. The younger Williams, who executive produced the film with her sister, spoke out on the subject during a recent CBS Mornings interview.
After showing Williams a video of her father coaching her as a child, Gayle King asked about “that moment at the Oscars,” namely the slap that got Smith banned from attending the Academy Awards for a decade. “I thought it was such an incredible film, and I feel that there was an incredible film after that, with Questlove, that kind of was overshadowed,” Williams began, referencing the producer’s best-documentary win for Summer of Soul—the award Rock was presenting when the slap occurred. “But I also feel that I’ve been in a position where I’ve been under a lot of pressure and I’ve made a tremendous amount of mistakes, and I’m the kind of person that’s like, I’ve been there. I’ve made a mistake. It’s not the end of the world.”
Williams previously acknowledged the incident shortly after the ceremony, posting since-deleted Instagram stories that showed her looking shocked. Almost a year later, the tennis star determined, “We’re all imperfect, and we’re all human, and let’s just be kind to each other. That’s often forgotten a lot.”
Smith, who has since apologized for his actions, compared himself to the Williams patriarch during his emotional Oscar speech. “Richard Williams was a fierce defender of his family,” he said. “In this time in my life, in this moment, I am overwhelmed by what God is calling on me to do and be in this world.”