Serena Williams Says Will Smith Deserves Forgiveness After Oscars Slap

"We’re all imperfect and we’re all human, and let’s just be kind to each other," Williams said about Will Smith's Oscars moment.

BYAron A.

Will Smith faced the wrath of cancel culture firsthand during the Oscars last year. The viral moment where he slapped Chris Rock across the face has been immortalized on the Internet. Many people continue to denounce Smith because of his actions. Others went as far as saying that he left them traumatized.

Though the incident left Will Smith banned from attending the award show for the next 10 years, he also won the first Oscar of his career. Smith took home the award for Best Actor for his role as Serena and Venus Williams’ father in King Richard. The win was not only significant for Smith but for the entire Williams family. 

Serena Williams recently sat down with Gayle King for CBS Morning where she opened up about the moment. She explained that she thought the film was “incredible,” while also showing love to Summer Of Soul, which won Best Documentary immediately after Will Smith slapped Chris Rock. However, her attitude towards Smith didn’t mirror the majority. 

HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - NOVEMBER 14: (L-R) Serena Williams, Will Smith, and Venus Williams attend the 2021 AFI Fest - Closing Night Premiere of Warner Bros. "King Richard" at TCL Chinese Theatre on November 14, 2021 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)

Williams explained that she feels more people need to offer compassion. She said that she’s also been in a position where she faced immense pressure and made mistakes in the process. Ultimately, she said Will Smith deserves forgiveness in the aftermath of the incident.

“​​I also feel that I’ve been in a position where I’ve been under a lot of pressure and made a tremendous amount of mistakes,” Williams said. “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. And I think that’s often forgotten a lot.”

Since the Oscars, Will Smith’s publicly apologized on numerous occasions for his actions. He shared a statement days after the incident. Then, he provided a more in-depth apology in a video released in July, while adding that he tried to reach out to Chris Rock to personally apologize.

“There is no part of me that thinks that was the right way to behave in that moment,”  Smith said. “There’s no part of me that thinks that’s the optimal way to handle a feeling of disrespect or insults.”


  • Link Copied to Clipboard!
About The Author
Aron A. is a features editor for HotNewHipHop. Beginning his tenure at HotNewHipHop in July 2017, he has comprehensively documented the biggest stories in the culture over the past few years. Throughout his time, Aron’s helped introduce a number of buzzing up-and-coming artists to our audience, identifying regional trends and highlighting hip-hop from across the globe. As a Canadian-based music journalist, he has also made a concerted effort to put spotlights on artists hailing from North of the border as part of Rise & Grind, the weekly interview series that he created and launched in 2021. Aron also broke a number of stories through his extensive interviews with beloved figures in the culture. These include industry vets (Quality Control co-founder Kevin "Coach K" Lee, Wayno Clark), definitive producers (DJ Paul, Hit-Boy, Zaytoven), cultural disruptors (Soulja Boy), lyrical heavyweights (Pusha T, Styles P, Danny Brown), cultural pioneers (Dapper Dan, Big Daddy Kane), and the next generation of stars (Lil Durk, Latto, Fivio Foreign, Denzel Curry). Aron also penned cover stories with the likes of Rick Ross, Central Cee, Moneybagg Yo, Vince Staples, and Bobby Shmurda.