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Tyler Perry Says Will Smith Is “Devastated,” Calls Chris Rock A “Champion” For Composure

Immediately after Will Smith slapped Chris Rock on the Oscars stage, he won the Academy Award for Best Actor. It was a monumental, historical moment in Hollywood, however, it was overshadowed by the assault that took place just minutes prior. Following Smith’s emotional, tearful speech, cameras followed as Denzel Washington, Bradley Cooper, and Tyler Perry were seen having a private conversation with him. The two were accused of siding with Smith or giving him a shoulder to lean on, and now, Perry is speaking from his perspective of the situation.”There’s a difference between comforting and de-escalating, that’s No. 1,” Perry reportedly told Gayle King during the Tribeca Film Festival’s Directors Series. “And I left early to get to Chris to make sure he was okay. Being friends with both of them has been very difficult.” Neilson Barnard / Staff / Getty ImagesHe called Smith’s actions “wrong in no uncertain terms,” adding that he told that to the actor.”Trust me, as painful as it was for all of us in the room, it was as painful for Chris, who was a pure champion for the way he handled it,” he added. “But I want you to understand that something happened that was extremely painful for [Smith] as well. That is no excuse. He was completely wrong for what he did. But something triggered him…that is so out of everything he is.””And I’ll tell you, when we walked over to him, he was devastated. He couldn’t believe what happened. He couldn’t believe he did it,” he added. “I’m looking at this man in his eyes going, ‘What are you doing? This is your night.’ And to get all the way to this moment, winning an Oscar, that was one of the crowning moments of his career that he wanted so desperately, and to have something like that happen….”Neilson Barnard / Staff / Getty Images”I think he is very much in reflection of trying to figure out what happened,” said Perry. “Because what I’ll tell you is I just read his book, and there’s this moment about not being able to protect his mother. I know that feeling. I’m getting chills just thinking about it. I know that feeling of being a man and thinking about the little boy. And if that trauma is not dealt with right away, as you get older it will show up in the most inappropriate, most horrible time. I know Will. I know him well.” Smith has been banned from The Academy’s events for 10 years. He offered an apology to Rock, their families, the Oscars, and the public.[via]

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