While the whole world was talking about Will Smith slapping Chris Rock at last year’s Oscars, John Salley claims that the aftermath might have offered Smith some peace.
In a recent interview, former NBA player Salley opened up about working alongside Will Smith and Martin Lawerence filming Bad Boys 4. The former NBA player said that Smith’s absence from Hollywood gave the actor the time to rest.
“After Will did his smack, Will got to travel. Will got to step outside of all this stuff and when he was back he said — best rest he’s ever gotten, best time he got to sit back and look at things,” Salley said. “We share books and he gave me a great book called Awareness and it definitely has changed my way of thinking too.”
He continued: “When you start realizing everything that happens is like the butterfly effect. Everything ripples down to something else and it was him having to get out of it. I always looked at it when I watched the smack — it seemed like he didn’t wanna do it, but he was already committed. Because he was leaning back like he was fighting something.”
He added that “people got to see that [Smith] was human.” While Smith is no longer a part of the Academy, he can still be nominated and even win an Oscar. He just won’t be able to accept the award in person. The actor’s actions got him banned from the Academy for ten years.
Bad Boys 4 is the second film Smith has worked on after the infamous slap. Last year he starred in Apple TV+ Emancipation.
Since then, he’s opened up about the incident and what was a possible cause of his seemingly out-of-character reaction.
“And I guess what I would say, you just never know what somebody is going through,” Smith said to Trevor Noah back in November. “I was going through something that night. Not that that justifies my behavior at all.”
“And it’s like I understood the idea where they say ‘hurt people hurt people,'” he added. “That was a rage that had been bottled for a really long time.”
The day after the incident, the actor apologized to Rock and everyone affected in an Instagram post.
“Violence in all of its forms is poisonous and destructive. My behavior at last night’s Academy Awards was unacceptable and inexcusable,” it read. “Jokes at my expense are a part of the job, but a joke about Jada’s medical condition was too much for me to bear, and I reacted emotionally. I would like to publicly apologize to you, Chris. I was out of line, and I was wrong. I am embarrassed, and my actions were not indicative of the man I want to be.”
He added: “There is no place for violence in a world of love and kindness. I would also like to apologize to the Academy, the producers of the show, all the attendees, and everyone watching around the world. I would like to apologize to the Williams Family and my King Richard Family. I deeply regret that my behavior has stained what has been an otherwise gorgeous journey for all of us. I am a work in progress.”