Will Smith faced the wrath of cancel culture firsthand during the Oscars last year. The viral moment where he slapped Chris Rock across the face has been immortalized on the Internet. Many people continue to denounce Smith because of his actions. Others went as far as saying that he left them traumatized.
Though the incident left Will Smith banned from attending the award show for the next 10 years, he also won the first Oscar of his career. Smith took home the award for Best Actor for his role as Serena and Venus Williams’ father in King Richard. The win was not only significant for Smith but for the entire Williams family.
Serena Williams recently sat down with Gayle King for CBS Morning where she opened up about the moment. She explained that she thought the film was “incredible,” while also showing love to Summer Of Soul, which won Best Documentary immediately after Will Smith slapped Chris Rock. However, her attitude towards Smith didn’t mirror the majority.
Williams explained that she feels more people need to offer compassion. She said that she’s also been in a position where she faced immense pressure and made mistakes in the process. Ultimately, she said Will Smith deserves forgiveness in the aftermath of the incident.
“I also feel that I’ve been in a position where I’ve been under a lot of pressure and made a tremendous amount of mistakes,” Williams said. “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. We’re all imperfect and we’re all human, and let’s just be kind to each other. And I think that’s often forgotten a lot.”
Since the Oscars, Will Smith’s publicly apologized on numerous occasions for his actions. He shared a statement days after the incident. Then, he provided a more in-depth apology in a video released in July, while adding that he tried to reach out to Chris Rock to personally apologize.
“There is no part of me that thinks that was the right way to behave in that moment,” Smith said. “There’s no part of me that thinks that’s the optimal way to handle a feeling of disrespect or insults.”