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Tyler Perry explains difficulty of being friends with Will Smith and Chris Rock

Tyler Perry explains difficulty of being friends with Will Smith and Chris Rock
Will Smith. (Photo credit: Bang Media)

Media and movie mogul Tyler Perry said he was thrust into an impossible predicament when Will Smith stomped on stage and slapped Chris Rock at the 2022 Oscars on March 27.

Smith then returned to his seat and blurted out loudly to Rock, who was an Oscar presenter, to keep “my wife’s name out of your f—ing mouth” after Rock made a cringe-worthy joke about Jada Pinkett Smith’s hair – or lack of it. Rock later said he did not know that Pinkett Smith suffered from the auto-immune disease alopecia.

Perry was one of the first to dash to Smith’s side when the Oscars cut to a commercial break. But he was torn – and remains so – because he is friends with both the Oscar-winning actor and the acclaimed comedian.

The owner of the nation’s largest movie and television studio denied to Gayle King that he comforted Smith.

“There’s a difference between comforting and deescalating, that’s number one, and I left early to get to Chris to make sure he was okay. Being friends with both of them has been very difficult,” Perry said. 

“I was there, close up. I left early to go check on Chris because it was wrong in no uncertain terms, and I made sure I said that to Will, and I’ll tell you, when we walked over to him, he was devastated. He couldn’t believe what happened. He couldn’t believe he did it. And I’m looking at this man in his eyes going, ‘What are you doing? This is your night.’”

Smith later took home his first Academy Award for his stunning portrayal of Serena and Venus Williams’ father in the film King Richard.

“And to get all the way to this moment, winning an Oscar, that was one of the crowning moments of his career that he wanted so desperately. and to have something like that happen, I think he is very much in reflection of trying to figure out what happened,” Perry added during his interview with King. 

Perry indicated that it was just as painful emotionally to witness the occurrence and fallout as it was for the two participants in the debacle. 

“And trust me, as painful as it was for all of us in the room, it was as painful for Chris, who was a pure champion for the way he handled it, but I want you to understand that something happened that was extremely painful for Will as well,” Perry said. “That is no excuse. He was completely wrong for what he did. But something triggered him — that is so out of everything he is.”

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