Richard Williams thinks Will Smith’s Oscars ban was too harsh

Richard Williams. Picture: Reuters/Jeff Zelevansky (US)

Richard Williams. Picture: Reuters/Jeff Zelevansky (US)

Published Jan 17, 2023


Richard Williams thinks Will Smith’s Oscars ban was too harsh.

The 54-year-old actor won the Best Actor Academy Award for his portrayal of the tennis coach – who is the father of Serena and Venus Williams – in “King Richard” but the evening was overshadowed after he slapped Chris Rock for making a joke about his wife Jada Pinkett Smith.

Williams has now spoken out about the scandal for the first time, insisting the Academy's subsequent decision to ban the 57-year-old actor, who resigned as a member of the organisation, from the Oscars and other gala events for 10 years was too long.

Williams, who has some communication problems after suffering multiple strokes, said: “I think that whatever he (Will) wants to do, that’s what he should do. People are going to think what they want to think.

“If he apologised (that’s good), however he wants to deal with the situation. I wouldn't judge anyone.

“They should let him keep his Oscar, too. When a person (has) worked for (it) so much, then leave it alone.

“I really appreciate him doing so very much so I could never criticise him.”

Saying the ban was too harsh, he said: “Just two days, that’s enough, that’s very much.”

And Williams, who only saw the clip the next day after being shown it on YouTube by his son Chavoita LeSane, doesn’t think the controversy has overshadowed the success of the movie or his family’s story.

He said: “He’s done a great deal for myself and my family. I think he did extremely well, it was very wonderful.”

Williams hopes to meet Smith one day and joked he’d ask the “Men in Black” star to "slap (his) face".

Asked if he wants to meet him one day, he replied: "I definitely hope so, yes.

"I would say just, hello. And maybe, what I should do … just slap my face.

“He’s busy and I guess I’m busy also, different locations, so I hope we’re going to meet at some point.”