Actor Denzel Washington has weighed in on Will Smith’s now-infamous slapping of Chris Rock during a live broadcast of the 94th Academy Awards ceremony, also called the Oscars, on March 27.

During his guest appearance at Bishop T.D. Jakes’ leadership summit on April 2, Washington was asked about the slap and the exchange afterward.

“Well, there’s a saying, ‘When the devil ignores you, then you know you’re doing something wrong.’ 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,” Washington said. “And for whatever reason, the devil got a hold of him.”

The slapping incident came after Rock, who was presenting at the awards show, poked fun at some of the nominees and attendees at the 2022 awards, including Smith and his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith.

Rock made a joke about Pinkett Smith’s shaved head, telling her, “Jada, I love you. G.I. Jane II, can’t wait to see it.”

The joke was in reference to the 1997 film “G.I. Jane” in which actress Demi Moore shaved her head.

Pinkett Smith revealed in 2021 that she has been battling the autoimmune disorder alopecia, which can cause rapid hair loss.

After initially appearing to laugh at the joke, Smith—who was nominated for the Best Actor award for his role as Richard Williams, the father of tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams, in the film “King Richard”—then walked onstage and approached Rock before throwing an open hand at his face.

Washington, along with actor and producer Tyler Perry, could be seen speaking to Smith following the incident, but it was unclear what words had been exchanged.

During his April 2 interview with Jakes, Washington added that “fortunately there were people there” that night, including Perry, who he said “came immediately right over there with me” and prayed.

“I don’t want to say what we talked about, but ‘there but for the grace of God’ go any of us,” Washington said. “You know, who are we to condemn? I don’t know all the ins and outs of the situation, but I know the only solution was prayer.”

The Los Angeles Police Department said in a statement that Rock had declined to file a police report.

Meanwhile, Smith—who won the Best Actor award later that evening—has resigned from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, stating that he “betrayed the trust of the Academy.”

“I deprived other nominees and winners of their opportunity to celebrate and be celebrated for their extraordinary work,” Smith said in a statement to several news outlets.

“So, I am resigning from membership in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and will accept any further consequences the Board deems appropriate,” he added.

The actor noted that he will “work to ensure that I never again allow violence to overtake reason.”

Comedian Chris Rock made his first public comment on the matter during a March 30 standup show in Boston, Variety reported.

“I don’t have a bunch of [expletive] about what happened, so if you came to hear that, I have a whole show I wrote before this weekend,” Rock told the audience. “I’m still kind of processing what happened. So, at some point I’ll talk about that [expletive]. And it will be serious and funny.”


Katabella Roberts is a reporter currently based in Turkey. She covers news and business for The Epoch Times, focusing primarily on the United States.

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