Comedian Kevin Hart gave his opinion on the drama surrounding actor Will Smith and comedian Chris Rock during an appearance on the podcast Drink Champs on Sept. 24.
Smith was banned from the Academy Awards for 10 years after he slapped Rock onstage back in March during the Oscar ceremony’s live broadcast. The evening’s winner for Best Actor walked on stage and slapped Rock in the face after the comedian made a joke about Smith’s wife, actress Jada Pinkett Smith, starring in GI Jane II. Pinkett Smith was rocking a bald head due to her alopecia diagnosis.
Hart told the Drink Champs hosts that Smith was a Hollywood legend and gave him credit for being one of the actors who paved the way for Black talent in Hollywood.
“Studios took the gamble on more leads of color because of the work that Will Smith, Denzel [Washington] were doing in the beginning, right? You need the faces that are giving the universal return,” he said. “So, I’m not gonna s— on Will and act like he hasn’t been, and wasn’t, that guy.”
Hart conceded that Smith made a mistake but said he should be forgiven. “And people make mistakes, and from mistakes they should be allowed time to f—king recover,” said Hart. “This is no longer the world’s problem, it’s Will and Chris’ problem. Let them deal with that. The world should step out of it and let them recover.”
Hart told Entertainment Tonight back in July he loved both Smith and Rock and hoped that the two men could move past the incident.
“I can only hope that the two of them find a way to find some solace in that and move past it,” he said. “I just like good energy. I love to see people be the best. I still love him, I still love Chris, and, you know, you can’t judge a person by one thing. Ultimately, life goes on and people grow, so give him the opportunity to do so.”