Tyler Perry doesn’t really want to talk about the Oscars slap.
On Monday night, the director appeared at the Tribeca Festival for a Q&A with “CBS Mornings” host Gayle King, and was asked about the incident at the awards show.
After Will Smith slapped Chris Rock onstage at the Oscars over a joke about his wife Jada Pinkett Smith’s shaved head, Perry was seen talking with Smith, appearing to comfort him.
“There is a difference between comforting and de-escalating,” Perry told King after she asked him about the moment, according to Deadline.
“My only problem with it is this: If I talk about it, then it becomes overshadowing of everything else we talked about. That will be the headline, for sure,” he added.
“We can make another headline,” King joked. “I am pregnant with Tyler’s child. That’s the headline.”
But Perry did continue to address the incident: “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.”
Perry also 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.”
Smith has been banned from attending the Oscars and other Academy events for 10 years in the wake of the slap.
“I think he is very much in reflection, trying to figure out what happened,” Perry said. He alluded to a section of Smith’s recent memoir ‘Will’ that he said talks about the actor “not being able to protect his mother at eight years old.”
He added, “I know that feeling…. And if that trauma is not dealt with right away as you get older, it will show up in the most inappropriate and horrible times.
He also said that being friends with both Rock and Smith through that moment “was very difficult” for him.
“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,” Perry explained. “But I want you to understand that something happened that was extremely painful for [Will] 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.”
Finally, the director said, “I feel very uncomfortable. I don’t feel it is my story to tell.”