Tyler Perry Addresses Claims That He ‘Comforted’ Will Smith Following Oscars Slap

In a Q&A with Gayle King at the Tribeca Film Festival Monday (June 13th), Tyler Perry shared his experience at the 94th annual Academy Awards. Following the infamous slap, numerous reports stated that Perry comforted Will Smith in the aftermath. However, Perry said it’s a little more complicated than that.

“There is a difference between comforting and de-escalating,” Perry told King, adding that he “left early to get to Chris to make sure he was okay” but that he felt empathy for Smith, too.

“I was there, close up. I left early to go and check on Chris because it was wrong in no uncertain terms and I made sure I said that to Will,” the Madea’s Family Reunion creator said.

Perry said that Smith “was devastated. He couldn’t believe what happened. He couldn’t believe he did it. And I’m looking at this man, in his eyes going, ‘What are you doing? This is your night… And to get all this way to winning an Oscar. It was one of the crowning moments of his career that he wanted so desperately.”

He added that Rock “was a pure champion the way he handled it,” but that “something happened that was extremely painful for [Smith] as well. It’s no excuse, he was completely wrong, but something triggered. That was so out of everything he is.”