As the fallout from actor Will Smith's slapping comedian Chris Rock continues to eclipse everything else that happened at this year's Oscars, Richard Williams, the man Smith played in his now Oscar-winning performance, is making his feelings about the incident loud and clear.
Williams—father of tennis stars Serena and Venus Williams and the subject of King Richard for which Smith won the Best Actor statuette Sunday night just minutes after the slap—spoke out about the incident.
Speaking in a statement released by his son, Chavoita LeSane, Williams condemned Smith's actions.
Williams told NBC News:
“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.”
Williams' words have particular weight given the way Smith spoke of Williams in his Best Actor acceptance speech.
After referencing the altercation between he and Rock with a tearful apology to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and his fellow nominees but, notably, not Rock, Smith compared his actions to the way Williams parented and defended his daughters as he coached them to tennis greatness.
“I look like the crazy father, just like they said about Richard Williams. But love will make you do crazy things.”
Williams has had no comment on Smith's speech. But LeSane, who has been Williams' spokesman since he had a stroke, told NBC that Williams was shocked when Smith suddenly lashed out at Rock after he made a joke about his wife actress Jada Pinkett-Smith's hair loss, a sentiment his daughter Serena shared in a post to her Instagram story.
On Twitter, Williams' words
The blowback from Smith's aggression toward Rock is not likely to reach its conclusion any time soon: The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which administers the Oscars, announced Monday that it has opened a formal review of the incident.