It’s been a little over a week since “The Slap Heard ‘Round the World,” but the paparazzi, podcasts, talk shows, and memes are seeing to it that the Will Smith-Chris Rock debacle doesn’t go away any time soon. And while everyone is taking sides in the discussion, there’s one person with actual intimate knowledge of the event who spoke of reserving judgment and taking it to a higher power instead.
Denzel Washington, whose father was a Pentecostal minister for a half-century, leaned on his own faith when counseling Smith at the Dolby Center. The 67-year-old thespian has been considered a mentor to the Fresh Prince, and Washington shared his feelings from that evening with Bishop T.D. Jakes.
“Well, there’s a saying when the devil ignores you, then you know you’re doing something wrong,” he told Jakes at the International Leadership Summit over the weekend.
“You know, the devil goes, ‘Oh, no, leave him alone, he’s my favorite. Don’t bother him.’ Conversely, when the devil comes at you, maybe it’s because you’re trying to do something right,” Washington continued. “And for whatever reason, the devil got a hold of that circumstance that night.”
After Smith slapped Rock, he returned to his seat and proceeded to lash out at the comedian more. The Fresh Prince later burst into tears, upon which others like Washington, Tyler Perry, and Bradley Cooper approached Smith to console him. Smith then went on to cite Washington’s advice almost verbatim in his acceptance speech for his performance in King Richard.
“Fortunately, there were people there, not just me, but others in the gap,” Washington shared with Jakes. “Tyler Perry came right immediately, right over there with me… 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.”
Smith expressly apologized to Rock via Instagram the day after the incident, and he resigned from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science four days later. A lot of people want to move on from the incident, and Jerrod Carmichael also said as much in his opening monologue for this past weekend’s airing of Saturday Night Live. Carmichael even reached out to one special person whom he thinks can help “heal the nation.” Watch the clip below to find out who!
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