Serena Williams finally addresses Will Smith's Oscars slap: 'We're all imperfect'


Will Smith portrays the tennis superstar Serena Williams' father in the 2021 film 'King Richard'. Photo: AFP, TNS

Tennis superstar Serena Williams is finally addressing last year's Oscars slap and the fallout for Will Smith after he won an Academy Award minutes later for portraying her father in the 2021 film King Richard.

In an interview with CBS Mornings co-host Gayle King that aired on Feb 4, the trailblazing tennis ace defended Smith's actions nearly a year later and called for a show of kindness when people make mistakes.

"Then King Richard had that moment at the Oscars, what did you feel about that?' King asked.

"I thought it was such an incredible film, and I feel that there was an incredible film after that with Questlove (Summer Of Soul) that kind of was overshadowed," Williams said, not using Smith's name nor specifics about the infamous moment when he stormed the stage and slapped presenter Chris Rock for making a crack about Smith's wife.

"But I also feel that I have been in a position where I've been under a lot of pressure and I've made a tremendous amount of mistakes," Williams continued.

"And I'm the kind of person that's like, 'I've been there, I've made a mistake. It's not the end of the world.' We're all imperfect and we're all human and let's just be kind to each other. So, that's often forgotten a lot."

Williams, 41, and her elder sister Venus Williams attended the 94th Academy Awards but didn't publicly address the incident, which many still feel embarrassed them and tarnished a night that celebrated Black Hollywood.

Smith, 54, who took the stage less than hour later in the broadcast to accept his lead actor Oscar, gave a rambling speech and indirectly explained himself, apologised to the academy and his fellow nominees and told the academy he hoped he'd be invited back. But he made no apologies for his behaviour toward Rock or the Williams family specifically.

Despite the numerous mea culpas that came after the show, the Ali and The Pursuit Of Happyness star was subsequently banned from the Academy Awards and its related events for 10 years but allowed to keep his Oscar.

In a November appearance on The Daily Show, the Emancipation star told then-host Trevor Noah that "bottled" rage led to his actions that night and that it was a "horrific decision".

The indefatigable Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air star has bounced back, bringing his larger-than-life personality back to social media and and announcing last week that he and Martin Lawrence would be reuniting for a fourth Bad Boys movie.

Meanwhile, Williams who told King, "I've literally given my whole life to tennis and it's time for me to give my life to something else," appeared in a Super Bowl LVII commercial for Michelob Ultra in which she trades tennis for golf. – Los Angeles Times/Tribune News Service

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