Denzel Washington is speaking publicly for the first time on the now-infamous slap Will Smith handed to Chris Rock on stage at the 94th Oscars last week. The veteran actor was one of several who came to Will’s side immediately after the shocking moment, and now he’s revealing what happened as he consoled the King Richard star.
Washington attended a leadership summit put on by Bishop T.D. Jakes over the weekend, where he was asked about his career, religious beliefs, and the incident.
“Well, there’s saying, ‘When the devil ignores you, then you know you’re doing something wrong,’” Washington said, NBC News reported. “The devil goes, ‘Oh no, leave him alone, he’s my favorite.’ Conversely, when the devil comes at you, maybe it’s because he’s trying to do something right. And for whatever reason the devil got ahold of circumstance that night.”
Washington continued, revealing what happened on the side of the stage in the moments after the slap. “Fortunately there were people there. Not just me, Tyler Perry came immediately right over with me. [Said] some prayers. I don’t wanna say what we talked about, but for the grace of God go any of us. Who are we to condemn? I don’t know all the ins and outs of the situation, but I know the only solution was prayer the way I see it.”
Will Smith has publicly apologized twice over the incident, once after accepting his first-ever Academy Award and again in an Instagram post where he wrote that “violence in all of its forms is poisonous” and that while “jokes at my expense are a part of the job, but a joke about Jada’s medical condition was too much.”
He’s since resigned from the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, who launched a “formal review” of the matter.
Chris Rock launched his “Ego Death” comedy tour days after the scene, and shut down chants from the crowd attacking Will, revealing that he was “still processing what happened.”