Denzel Washington speaks publicly about slapping Will Smith at the Oscars


Washington was a guest and speaker at Bishop TD Jakes’ leadership summit on Saturday. During the two-hour chat about Faith and his award-winning acting career, Washington was asked about the infamous slap and what happened afterward.

“Well, there’s a saying when the devil ignores you, then you know you’re doing something wrong,” Washington said in a video of the exchange posted to Jakes’ verified Twitter account.

“You know, the devil says, ‘Oh, no, leave him alone, that’s my favorite. Don’t bother him. Conversely, when the devil comes to you, it may be because you are trying to do something good. And for some reason the devil took hold of that circumstance that night.

At the Oscars, Smith took the stage and slapped Chris Rock, who was presenting at the time, after he made a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith’s shaved head.

Shortly after the incident, Smith won his first Oscar and apologized to the Academy and others for the previous incident.

During his acceptance speech, Smith said that prior to his victory, fellow candidate Washington had shared some wisdom with him: “At your highest point, pay attention, that’s when the devil is coming for you.”

Washington said during Saturday’s chat that he, along with actor and producer Tyler Perry, prayed with Smith after the incident.

“Luckily there were people there, not just me, but others in the breach,” Washington told Jakes. “Tyler Perry came straight away, right there with me.”

Washington would not say what the three men talked about or prayed about after the incident.

“Who are we to condemn? Washington asked. “I don’t know all the ins and outs of the situation, but I know the only solution was prayer.”

Black-smith apologized Monday in a statement on Instagram, calling his behavior “unacceptable and inexcusable.”

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