Serena Williams Finally Breaks Silence on Will Smith Oscars Slap, ‘We’re All Human’

One year later, Serena Williams is finally ready to address Will Smith’s infamous Oscars slap attack against Chris Rock.

It was March 12, 2022, when Smith slapped Rock across the face in front of the live Academy Awards audience after the comedian made a joke about his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. The slap came while Rock presented an award that ended up going to Questlove minutes before Smith returned to the stage to accept his first Academy Award for his portrayal of Venus and Serena Williams’ dad in the film King Richard.

The tennis champion sisters have been pretty mum on sharing their reactions to the Oscars slap. But Serena recently reflected on the shocking live TV moment during a sitdown with Gayle King on CBS Mornings.

While the 23x Grand Slam title holder admits that the slap ‘heard and seen ’round the world’ “overshadowed” very important moments, she also understands that we’re all human and make mistakes.

“I thought it was such an incredible film and I feel that there was an incredible film after that with Questlove that kind of was overshadowed,” Williams said.

“But 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, and I’m the kind of person that’s just like, ‘I’ve been there. I’ve made a mistake. It’s not the end of the world.’ We’re all imperfect and human; let’s just be kind to each other. So, that’s often forgotten a lot.”

In the wake of the slap attack, Smith was banned from attending the Academy Awards for the next 10 years. The projects the actor was working on were also either pulled or put on pause.

While promoting his latest film, Emancipation, Smith opened up about the root cause behind the attack and shared his regrets.

“That was a horrific night, as you can imagine. There’s many nuances and complexities to it. But at the end of the day, I just — I lost it, you know?” Smith said on The Daily Show, as noted by Variety.

“I was going through something that night, you know? Not that that justifies my behavior at all… It was a lot of things. It was the little boy that watched his father beat up his mother, you know? All of that just bubbled up in that moment. That is not who I want to be.”