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Denzel Washington speaks publicly about Will Smith Oscar slap


By Keith Allen and Alaa Elassar, CNN

Denzel Washington spoke publicly about his interaction with Will Smith on Oscar night and what happened after Smith slapped Chris Rock on stage.

Washington was a guest and speaker at Bishop T.D. Jakes’ leadership summit on Saturday. During the two-hour discussion about faith and his award-winning acting career, Washington was asked about the infamous slap and what happened afterward.

“Well, there’s a saying when the devil ignores you, then you know you’re doing something wrong,” Washington said in video of the exchange posted on Jakes’ verified Twitter account.

“You know, the devil goes, ‘Oh, no, leave him alone, he’s my favorite. Don’t bother him.’ Conversely, when the devil comes at you, maybe it’s because you’re trying to do something right. And for whatever reason, the devil got a hold of that circumstance that night.”

At the Academy Awards, Smith walked to the stage and slapped Chris Rock, who was presenting at the time, after he made a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith’s shaved head.

Shortly after the incident, Smith won his first Academy Award and offered his apologies to the Academy and others for the earlier incident.

During his acceptance speech, Smith said that prior to his win, fellow nominee Washington shared some wisdom with him: “At your highest moment be careful, that’s when the devil comes for you.”

Washington said during Saturday’s discussion that he, along with actor and producer Tyler Perry, prayed with Smith after the incident.

“Fortunately, there were people there, not just me, but others in the gap,” Washington told Jakes. “Tyler Perry came right immediately, right over there with me.”

Washington would not say what the three men spoke or prayed about after the incident.

“Who are we to condemn?” Washington asked. “I don’t know all the ins and outs of the situation, but I know the only solution was prayer.”

Smith issued an apology on Monday in a statement on Instagram, calling his behavior “unacceptable and inexcusable.”

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