Richard, father of Venus and Serena Williams, tennis champions, has defended Will Smith for slapping Chris Rock at the 2022 Oscar Awards.
Smith won the best actor at the 94th edition of the Academy Awards for playing Richard Williams in a 2021 biographical film titled ‘King Richard’.
The movie detailed how he trained and positioned Venus and Serena to become world-beaters in tennis.
At the same ceremony, Smith slapped Rock after the comedian joked about Jada Pinkett’s shaved head — which is due to the hair-loss condition called alopecia.
The actor’s action attracted a wave of criticism on social media and sanctions from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS).
The father of tennis champions Venus and Serena Williams has broken his silence to defend Will Smith over the slapping of comedian Chris Rock at the Oscars.
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— Good Morning Britain (@GMB) March 6, 2023
Speaking on the UK TV show “Good Morning Britain, Williams defended Smith, saying he didn’t see anything wrong with what the actor did to Rock.
The 81-year-old added that he does not feel sorry for the comedian. He also pleaded with the public to forgive Smith.
“I’ll always stand by him,” Richard said.
“I think he has done the best thing he needed to do, but I would never be disgusted with Mr. Smith. Matter of fact, I appreciate Mr. Smith.
“I’m 81 years old but when I was about 51 years or younger, I almost killed any damn one, so I think Mr. Smith done a great deal now.
“It’s time for everyone to forgive Will Smith.”
The retired tennis coach also urged the AMPAS to lift its 10-year ban on Smith.
“It should be just one day or no more than a week at the most,” he added.
Richard’s viewpoint comes at about the same time when Rock said the incident still hurts.
“They say, ‘words hurt’. Anybody that says words hurt has never been punched in the face,” the comedian said.
Smith earlier apologised for his actions which he described as “unacceptable.”
“There is no part of me that thinks that was the right way to behave at that moment. I am deeply remorseful and I’m trying to be remorseful without being ashamed of myself,” he had said.
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