Tiffany Haddish Defends Will Smith After Oscars Slap: ‘The Most Beautiful Thing I’ve Ever Seen’

Jada Pinkett Smith's "Girls Trip" co-star said Will Smith did what a husband is "supposed to do."
Tiffany Haddish at the 94th Academy Awards held at Dolby Theatre at the Hollywood & Highland Center on March 27th, 2022 in Los Angeles, California.
Tiffany Haddish
Michael Buckner for Variety

Tiffany Haddish is defending Will Smith in the wake of his viral Academy Awards moment.

The comedian told People at the Governors Ball following the Oscars ceremony that watching Smith slap presenter Chris Rock following a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith was the “most beautiful thing” to witness.

“When I saw a Black man stand up for his wife, that meant so much to me,” said Haddish, who co-starred with Jada Pinkett Smith in “Girls Trip.” “As a woman, who has been unprotected, for someone to say, ‘Keep my wife’s name out your mouth, leave my wife alone,’ that’s what your husband is supposed to do, right? Protect you, and that meant the world to me.”

Haddish, who also presented at the 2022 Oscars on March 27, continued, “And maybe the world might not like how it went down, but for me, it was the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen because it made me believe that there are still men out there that love and care about their women, their wives.”

Haddish added that Rock is “a friend” of the Smith family, and questioned why he joked about Jada’s known alopecia-related hair loss.

“He didn’t even run the joke by her,” Haddish said, “but she was hurt though. If she wouldn’t have been hurt, [Will] probably wouldn’t have said nothing. But you could see he was clearly…And they exploited it. They exploited her, so ‘I have to do something’… He protected his wife.”

Haddish assured that “Will is fine” following the altercation and his subsequent Best Actor win for “King Richard.”

The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences issued an official statement in reaction to Smith’s assault of Rock. “The Academy does not condone violence of any form,” the organization tweeted. “Tonight we are delighted to celebrate our 94th Academy Awards winners, who deserve this moment of recognition from their peers and movie lovers around the world.”

Rock declined to file a police report with the LAPD which would charge Smith with an assault misdemeanor with a charge of up to six months in prison and a fine of up to $100,000.

Hollywood has since remained divided on the Smith-Rock incident.

Italian director Gabriele Muccino, who directed Will Smith in “The Pursuit of Happyness” and “Seven Pounds,” tweeted, “I am really sorry for the way Will managed to ruin the most important evening of his life. Nobody knows the past [backstory] of having such an exposed nerve that made him lose control like that. He always knows how to find a way out of any situation. That fact that he yesterday he tripped pains me.”

Director Rob Reiner tweeted, “Will Smith owes Chris Rock a huge apology. There is no excuse for what he did. He’s lucky Chris is not filing assault charges. The excuses he made tonight were bullshit.”

Rock’s longtime friend and fellow comedian Judd Apatow wrote in a since-deleted tweet, “He could have killed him. That’s pure out-of-control rage and violence. They’ve heard a million jokes about them in the last three decades. They are not freshman in the world of Hollywood and comedy. He lost his mind.”

Meanwhile, Jada and Will’s son Jaden Smith wrote, “And That’s How We Do It.”

Judd Apatow tweet

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