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Richard Williams says ‘we don’t condone anyone hitting anyone else’ after Will Smith slap

Richard Williams has spoken out on the shocking Oscars incident on Sunday which saw Will Smith slap Chris Rock.

Will won his first Academy Award on Sunday night for his portrayal of Williams in King Richard, but the win was overshadowed by the slap.

Williams, 80, has now spoken out on the incident, stating that he and his family ‘don’t condone anyone hitting anyone else.’

‘We don’t condone anyone hitting anyone else’: Richard Williams has spoken out on the shocking Oscars incident on Sunday which saw Will Smith slap Chris Rock

‘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.’ 

LeSane added that his father was as surprised as anyone when Smith suddenly stormed the stage and slapped Rock for making a joke about his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith’s alopecia.

But LeSane, who has been serving as Richard William’s spokesman since his father had a stroke, declined to go beyond his statement when asked for comment on Smith’s emotional Oscar acceptance speech in which he referenced the Williams family and said ‘Art imitates life. I look like the crazy father, just like they said. I look like the crazy father just like they said about Richard Williams.’

Will Smith apologised again to Richard Williams and his tennis superstar daughters Serena and Venus in a public apology released on Monday. 

Shocking: Will Smith slapped Chris Rock on stage at the Oscars on Sunday, after the comedian made a joke about his wife Jada Pinkett Smith. On Monday, Smith apologized

Shocking: Will Smith slapped Chris Rock on stage at the Oscars on Sunday, after the comedian made a joke about his wife Jada Pinkett Smith. On Monday, Smith apologized

The 53-year-old wrote in an Instagram post that he was ’embarrassed’ by his actions, which shocked the ceremony attendees, producers and viewers.

‘Violence in all of its forms is poisonous and destructive,’ he wrote.  ‘My behavior at last night’s Academy Awards was unacceptable and inexcusable.

‘Jokes at my expense are a part of the job, but a joke about Jada’s medical condition was too much for me to bear and I reacted emotionally.

‘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.’ 

King Richard: Will won his first Academy Award on Sunday night for his portrayal of Williams in but the win was overshadowed by the slap

King Richard: Will won his first Academy Award on Sunday night for his portrayal of Williams in but the win was overshadowed by the slap

No statement: Serena and Venus Williams (pictured with Serena's husband Alexis Ohanian watching Will Smith's acceptance speech on Sunday) have yet to speak out on the slap

No statement: Serena and Venus Williams (pictured with Serena’s husband Alexis Ohanian watching Will Smith’s acceptance speech on Sunday) have yet to speak out on the slap 

Smith said: ‘I would also like to apologize to the Academy, the producers of the show, all the attendees and everyone watching around the world,’ Smith continued. 

‘I would like to apologize to the Williams Family and my King Richard Family. 

‘I deeply regret that my behavior has stained what has been an otherwise gorgeous journey for all of us.’

The Philadelphia-born actor concluded:  ‘I am a work in progress. Sincerely, Will.’ 

Rock has not responded to Smith’s apology, or commented on the Sunday night incident. 

Shockwaves: Rock covers his jaw after being slapped in the face but went on to announce the winner for best documentary after a very awkward pause

Shockwaves: Rock covers his jaw after being slapped in the face but went on to announce the winner for best documentary after a very awkward pause

Apology: Will Smith apologised again to Richard Williams and his tennis superstar daughters Serena and Venus in a public apology released on Monda

Apology: Will Smith apologised again to Richard Williams and his tennis superstar daughters Serena and Venus in a public apology released on Monda

Apology: Will Smith apologised to Chris Rock and again to Richard Williams and his tennis superstar daughters Serena and Venus in an Instagram statement released on Monday

His apology came as the group that hands out the Oscars on Monday condemned Smith’s actions and said it had started a formal review of the incident that cast a shadow over the film honors.

Smith strode on stage during the live telecast and struck Rock in the face after the comedian made a joke about the appearance of Smith’s wife. 

Smith’s meltdown continued when he returned to his seat as he repeatedly screamed: ‘Keep my wife’s name out of your f***ing mouth’. 

The crowd then fell into stunned silence as it became clear the attack was genuine, and not staged.  

Rock replied to him saying: ‘I’m going to, okay?’ He then laughed uncomfortably, saying: ‘That was the greatest night in the history of television’. 

Tears: Any questions over whether the altercation was genuine were answered when just over half an hour later Smith was given the Best Actor award and apologized for the assault

Tears: Any questions over whether the altercation was genuine were answered when just over half an hour later Smith was given the Best Actor award and apologized for the assault

Smith’s sweary rant was muted by directors because the show’s live broadcast is slightly delayed in the US.

But it was aired in full to some international audiences with the uncut clip already been viewed more than a million times on social media and YouTube in the first few hours.

Any questions over whether the altercation was genuine were answered when just over half an hour later Smith was given the Best Actor award and apologized for the assault.

In his acceptance speech a crying Smith said: ‘Love makes you do crazy things’, as he clutched his Oscar statuette.  

‘You gotta be able to take abuse, and you gotta be able to have people talk crazy about you,’ Smith said. 

Before: Will Smith had initially laughed at the Rock gag about Jada's hair being short - a line of Demi Moore's in GI Jane. His wife looked very unhappy and rolled her eyes

Before: Will Smith had initially laughed at the Rock gag about Jada’s hair being short – a line of Demi Moore’s in GI Jane. His wife looked very unhappy and rolled her eyes

‘In this business, you gotta be able to have people disrespecting you and you gotta smile and you gotta pretend like that’s OK. 

‘Denzel (Washington) said to me a few minutes ago, he said, “At your highest moment, be careful. That’s when the devil comes for you.”

‘It’s like I want to be a vessel for love. 

‘I want to say thank you to Venus and Serena. I want to say thank you to Venus and Serena and the entire Williams family for entrusting me with your story. That’s what I want to do. I want to be an ambassador of that kind of love and care and concern.’

Aftermath: Smith and Pinkett-Smith held hands throughout the ceremony after the shock slap. Denzel Washington was acting as peacemaker

Aftermath: Smith and Pinkett-Smith held hands throughout the ceremony after the shock slap. Denzel Washington was acting as peacemaker

The actor went on: ‘I want to apologize to the Academy, I want to apologize to all my fellow nominees. 

‘Art imitates life. I look like the crazy father, just like they said. I look like the crazy father just like they said about Richard Williams. But love will make you do crazy things’. 

He added: ‘I’m hoping the Academy invites me back. Thank you’.  

Could Will Smith be stripped of his Oscar? Academy faces pressure to respond after disgraced star broke Code of Conduct drawn up in wake of MeToo Movement 

The Academy tweeted its disapproval of 'violence of any form' late on Sunday night

The Academy tweeted its disapproval of ‘violence of any form’ late on Sunday night

There are calls for the Academy to strip Will Smith of his Best Actor Oscar after he walked on stage and slapped comedian Chris Rock who was presenting an award on stage, after making a joke about Jada Pinkett-Smith’s hair.

The Academy, in its code of conduct, is known to take a very a dim view of violence of any kind. 

After the award ceremony was over it tweeted: ‘The Academy does not condone violence of any form. Tonight we are delighted to celebrate our 94th Academy Awards winners, who deserve this moment of recognition from their peers and movie lovers around the world.’

The Academy reestablished its Code of Conduct in 2017 during the Me Too Movement.

‘Academy membership is a privilege offered to only a select few within the global community of filmmakers,’ AMPAS CEO Dawn Hudson wrote to members following various scandals in the industry.

On Sunday night, in the Dolby Theatre, there was complete bewilderment in the moments after the assault with took place with those present initially wondering if the punch was part of a stunt.  

It took a few moments for the normally unflappable Rock to process but the colorful language from Smith quickly confirmed it wasn’t any kind of joke at all. 

The punch threw the entire Oscars broadcast into chaos as producers were frantically forced into deciding how to deal with the on-air assault, with Smith still yet to receive his Best Actor statuette. 

 


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