During his guest appearance on the summit of leadership for Bishop TD Jakes on April 2, Washington was asked about the slap and exchange afterward.
“Well, there’s a saying, ‘When the devil ignores you, then you know you’re doing something wrong.’ The devil says, ‘Oh no, leave him alone, he’s my favourite.’ Conversely, when the devil comes to you, maybe it’s because he’s trying to do something right,” Washington said. “And for whatever reason, the devil got a hold of him.”
The slapping incident came after Rock, who was hosting the Oscars, mocked some of the 2022 nominees and attendees, including Smith and his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith.
Rock made a joke about Pinkett Smith’s shaved head, telling her, “Jada, I love you. GI Jane II, can’t wait to see it.”
The joke was in reference to the 1997 movie “GI Jane” in which actress Demi Moore shaved her head.
Pinkett Smith revealed in 2021 that she has been battling the autoimmune disorder alopecia, which can cause rapid hair loss.
After initially appearing to laugh at the joke, Smith — who was nominated for a best actor award for his role as Richard Williams, the father of tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams in the movie “King Richard” — then walked onstage and walked off. He approached Rock before throwing a punch to his face.
Washington later appeared along with actor and producer Tyler Perry, speaking to Smith after the incident, but it was unclear what words might have been exchanged.
During his April 2 interview with Jakes, Washington added that “luckily there were people there” that night, including Perry, who he said “immediately came with me” and prayed.
“I don’t want to say what we talked about, but ‘there though by the grace of God’ that comes to any of us,” Washington said. “Who are we to condemn? I don’t know all the details of the situation, but I know that the only solution was prayer.”
The Los Angeles Police Department said in a statement that Rock had declined to file a police report.
Meanwhile, Smith — who won best actor that same night — resigned from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, declaring he “betrayed the trust of the Academy.”
“I have deprived other nominees and winners of their opportunity to celebrate and be celebrated for their extraordinary work,” Smith said in a statement. statement to various media.
“Therefore, I resign membership in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and will accept any other consequences the Board deems appropriate,” he added.
The actor noted that he “will work to ensure that violence is never again allowed to override reason.”
Comedian Chris Rock made his first public comment on the matter during a stand-up show on March 30 in Boston, reported Variety.
“I don’t have a lot of [improperios] about what happened, so if you guys came to hear that, I have a whole show that I wrote before this weekend,” Rock told the crowd. “I’m still processing what happened. So at some point I’ll talk about that [improperio]and it will be serious and fun.”
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