Chavoita LeSane, the son of Richard Williams, is speaking out about Will Smith slapping Chris Rock at the 2022 Oscars.
“We don’t know all the details of what happened, but we don’t condone anyone hitting anyone else unless it’s in self-defense,” LeSane said, per a statement to NBC.
LeSane is the half-brother to Serena and Venus Williams, who all share Richard as their father.
The statement comes after Smith — who played Richard in the film “King Richard” — slapped Rock onstage for taking a jab at Jada Pinkett Smith’s shaved head, as she suffers from alopecia.
“Jada, I love you. G.I. Jane 2, can’t wait to see it, all right?,” Rock said during the March 27 ceremony.
After the physical outburst, Smith returned to his seat in the audience before shouting, “Keep my wife’s name out of your f—— mouth!”
Later in the evening, Smith returned to the spotlight to accept the Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance in “King Richard.” During his emotional acceptance speech, Smith not only addressed the altercation, but compared his protective behavior to Richard’s.
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“Art imitates life. I look like the crazy father,” Smith said, later adding, “Richard Williams was a fierce defender of his family. In this time in my life, in this moment I am overwhelmed by what God is calling on me to do and be in this world. Making this film, I got to protect Aunjanue Ellis who is one the most strongest, most delicate people I’ve ever met. I got to protect Saniyya and Demi, the two actresses that play Venus and Serena…I’m being called on in my life to love people and to protect people.”
Sharing a similar sentiment to Chavoita’s statement, the Academy has since spoken out on the matter on Twitter.
“The Academy does not condone violence of any form,” it said in Twitter post after the ceremony. “Tonight we are delighted to celebrate our 94th Academy Awards winners, who deserve this moment of recognition from their peers and movie lovers around the world.”
Will Smith confronted actor and comedian Chris Rock on stage after comedian made a joke about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett-Smith, at the 94th Annual Academy Awards.