Serena Williams Speaks Out About Will Smith’s Infamous Oscars Slap: “We’re All Human”
Almost one year after the Slap that was heard around the world, Serena Williams opened up about the now-infamous moment that took place shortly before Will Smith won the 2022 Oscar for best actor in King Richard.
Ahead of Smith’s win, Chris Rock took to the Academy Awards stage to present the award for best documentary for Questlove’s Summer of Soul. Before announcing who would be taking home the gold statue, Rock made a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith’s bald head. (The actress has alopecia.) Smith then took to the stage, slapped Rock and returned to his seat, where he shouted, “Keep my wife’s name out of your fucking mouth!”
At the time, the Williams sisters, whose life was portrayed in King Richard, remained mum on the Slap — until now.
Serena Williams stopped by CBS Mornings for a conversation with Gayle King about her business ventures, family, and her Florida farm.
During their chat, King showed Williams a sweet video of her father coaching her as a child and then segued into “that moment at the Oscars,” asking the tennis star how she felt about the situation, without specifically mentioning the Slap.
“I thought it was such an incredible film, and I feel that there was an incredible film after that with Questlove that kind of was overshadowed,” Williams began. “But 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, and 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.’”
She concluded, “We’re all imperfect, and we’re all human, and let’s just be kind to each other. So, that’s often forgotten a lot.”
Since the infamous moment on the Dolby Theatre stage at the 2022 Oscars, Smith has been banned from returning to the award show or attending any other Academy events for the next 10 years — but he can still be nominated.