After striking Chris Rock at the Oscars following a joke made in poor taste about his wife Jada Pinkett Smith, Will Smith went on to receive the Academy Award for his role in King Richard — but what did the real King Richard have to say about Smith’s behavior?
In the 2021 Oscar-nominated film, Smith portrays Richard Williams, the stern father of tennis legends Venus and Serena. While the film shows Williams raising his daughters to train hard and make history, Smith made history differently and Williams does not appear to be a fan of his actions.
“We don’t know all the details of what happened, but we don’t condone anyone hitting anyone else unless it’s in self-defense,” is the message Williams asked his son Chavoita LeSane to deliver to NBC News.
Since suffering from a stroke, Williams, 80, has had his son act as a spokesperson on his behalf and while LeSane did mention his father was initially shocked, he did not provide any further statement on the matter.
Smith has since apologized online to his peers and Rock, and during his tearful acceptance speech, he stated, “I look like the crazy father, just like they said about Richard Williams, but love will make you do crazy things.”
As of now, neither Venus nor Serena have made any public statements surrounding the situation.
After the incident, which took place on March 27, the Academy Awards did speak out about Smith’s behavior saying, “The Academy does not condone violence of any form.”
The Academy, which has gone on to launch a formal investigation, also mentioned in its code of conduct, “In addition to achieving excellence in the field of motion picture arts and sciences, members must also behave ethically by upholding the Academy’s values of respect for human dignity, inclusion, and a supportive environment that fosters creativity.”