Richard Williams has weighed in on Will Smith slapping Chris Rock at the Oscars. The father of Venus and Serena Williams, the real “King Richard,” said he was confused by Smith’s actions during the Academy Awards. “We don’t know all the details of what happened,” Williams told NBC News. “But we don’t condone anyone hitting anyone else unless it’s in self-defense.” The 80-year-old spoke to NBC News through his son, Chavoita LeSane. Williams has spoken through his 48-year-old son since he had a stroke. LeSane wrapped up the comments to NBC News by adding, “Williams was quite surprised” at Smith’s actions.
Smith referenced Williams, who he portrayed in “King Richard,” in his acceptance speech after winning the Oscar for Best Actor in a Leading Role. The former “Fresh Prince” actor Smith called Williams “a fierce defender of his family.” In his acceptance speech, Smith said, “Art imitates life. I look like the crazy father, just like they said about Richard Williams.” But, of course, viewers chose to focus instead on the fact that Smith’s actions took away from the pride and joy the entire Williams family should’ve been basking in that night. “Will Smith didn’t just steal from his own moment tonight,” one viewer tweeted. “He stole from Venus Williams, Serena Williams, Richard Williams and everyone else involved with ‘King Richard.’ Shame.”