Terry Crews Says Chris Rock 'Saved Hollywood' With How He Reacted To Will Smith Slap
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Terry Crews has spoken out about the Oscars incident that saw Will Smith take to the stage to slap Chris Rock.
The 94th Academy Awards ceremony on 28 March was overshadowed by King Richard star Will Smith, after the actor took to the stage to slap comedian Chris Rock for making a 'GI Jane 2' joke about wife, Jada Pinkett Smith.
While Smith has since been banned from attending the Oscars for 10 years, Brooklyn Nine-Nine actor Terry Crews, who worked with Rock on American sitcom Everybody Hates Chris, has given his take on the incident.
Crews reflected how both Smith and Rock are 'dear, dear friends' of his, and how he 'love[s] them both as brothers' but how 'there was a time in [his] life [where] [he] was Will Smith in that moment'.
He told The Hollywood Reporter: "And let me tell you, I’ve done worse than Will – way overkill, just … the punishment did not fit the crime. Like people were like, ‘What in the world are you doing?’ My wife even had to be like, ‘You got to promise me you will never go off like this. You did not need to pick this man up and put him on his head, on the concrete'."
He noted that by Chris 'just deciding to hold everything together' that the comedian 'in a lot of ways saved Hollywood'.
Crews reflected: "Because if there would’ve been a brawl on that stage, I don’t know if Hollywood would’ve ever gotten any respect again, you know? It’s hard to even imagine what would’ve happened."
Crews' reflection on the Oscars incident foreshadows his upcoming memoir, Tough, which interrogates the notion of toxic masculinity and Crews' own 'fixation with appearing outwardly tough eventually turned into an exhausting performance in which repressing his emotions let them get the better of him – leading him into addiction and threatening the most important relationships in his life'.
Crews noted how growing up, the definition of 'toughness' was 'the ability to strike, the ability to punch, the ability to set things straight, to even the score'.
"But the true definition of toughness was what Chris did in taking a punch and then holding everything together and then showing tremendous endurance and resilience in the middle of obstacles," he said.
The actor described Rock's response to Smith 'a miracle'.
He said: "I couldn’t believe his poise in that moment. I thought, holy cow, we owe him a lot. I think every performer owes him so much because it just really saved Hollywood in that moment. I’m very thankful to Chris, but also I understand Will. I’m not [one] to demonise Will at all because I was there."
Crewes explained how he thinks it's the 'perfect time to have this conversation and to really get upfront and close with these things that have always plagued us'.
He concluded: "I mean, it’s just one thing that travels in politics and sports and Hollywood, it’s that ability for people to just go off for no reason and not even understand why they’re doing it. Especially when I look at the way I was and to where I am now, another reason I had to reveal a lot is because you had to see where I was to understand where I am now. I have people now that can’t even imagine the things I did in the book that look at me and I’m like, 'Hey man, that was me. And I have to let you know'.
"And this is the same place I feel Will is in, and because people still are trying hard to rectify the Will Smith they knew with that person that was there at the Academy Awards, but he’s the same person, you know what I mean? We all have to understand that that could be any of us."
If you've been affected by any of the issues in this article and want to speak to someone in confidence, you can contact men's health charity Movember here