Denzel Washington

‘The Only Solution Was Prayer': Denzel Washington on Will Smith Slapping Chris Rock at Oscars

Denzel Washington is weighing on the drama after Will Smith slapped Chris Rock on stage at the 2022 Oscars

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Denzel Washington has broken his silence after he witnessed Will Smith slap Chris Rock on stage during the ceremony at the 2022 Oscars.

The 67-year-old actor described his feelings from the drama-filled night while appearing with author and pastor T.D. Jakes in part of his International Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C.

"There's a saying when the devil ignores you, then you know you're doing something wrong," Washington said during the event on April 2, per The Wrap. "The devil goes, 'Oh no leave him alone, he's my favorite.' Conversely, when the devil comes at you, maybe it's because he's trying to do something right. And for whatever reason, the devil got ahold of him that night."

During the March 27 show, Rock made a joke G.I. Jane joke about Smith's wife, Jada Pinkett Smith--who suffers from alopecia--leading the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air alum to charge the stage and slap the comedian across the face. Once he returned to his seat, Smith shouted twice, "Keep my wife's name out of your f------ mouth.

Celebrities React to Will Smith Slapping Chris Rock at Oscars

Moments after the incident, Washington said he and Tyler Perry comforted Smith during a commercial break, as photographs captured, and the three men prayed together.

"Fortunately there were people there, not just me but others," Washington recalled to Jakes. "I don't wanna say what we talked about. But there but for the grace of God go any of us. Who are we to condemn?"

He continued, "I don't know all the ins and outs of this situation, but I know the only solution was prayer. The way I saw it. The way I see it."

Smith was also photographed sharing a meaningful, shoulder-touching conversation with Bradley Cooper immediately after the slap.

While Jakes told Washington he had "stepped in the middle of World War III" by getting involved in the incident, the Tragedy of MacBeth star claims said he didn't have a choice.

"I couldn't have sat in my seat. No way I could have sat in my seat," he said. "That's just not who I am."

Smith went on to win the Best Actor award for his performance in King Richard and during his acceptance speech, he revealed that Washington had given him a pep talk minutes earlier.

"At your highest moment, be careful, that's when the devil comes for you," Smith claimed Washington told him.

In the days following the Oscars, Smith formally apologized to Rock and resigned from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts &Sciences.

"The list of those I have hurt is long and includes Chris, his family, many of my dear friends and loved ones, all those in attendance, and global audiences at home," Smith said in the statement on April 1. "I betrayed the trust of the Academy. I deprived other nominees and winners of their opportunity to celebrate and be celebrated for their extraordinary work. I am heartbroken."

The Academy is currently exploring consequences for Smith's actions, which could include "suspension, expulsion, or other sanctions," such as being banned from Academy events. The organization said he violated the Academy's Standards of Conduct, which prohibits "inappropriate physical contact, abusive or threatening behavior."

Will Smith announced on Friday he is resigning his membership in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, less than a week after slapping Chris Rock on the Academy Awards stage.
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