Actor and Sunday night Oscar winner Will Smith’s mother released a statement saying she was shocked that her son slapped comedian Chris Rock. She also said her son has never done anything like that.
However, an alleged victim says he too has been slapped by Smith. Ukrainian reporter-turned-prankster Vitalii Sediuk says he was pushed and given a backhanded slap to the face after he hugged and attempted to kiss Smith on the red carpet in Moscow.
The incident occurred in 2012 when Smith was in Moscow for the opening of Men in Black 3. Sediuk, who is 33 now, was working for a Ukrainian television station. After Smith’s Sunday night slap heard ‘round the world, Sediuk says “I just immediately recollected the slapping incident in Moscow.”
“I think the joke was inappropriate when it comes to someone’s health but Will’s reaction is unnecessary and sends the wrong message to comedians – being beaten for a joke.
“Will Smith’s audience [is] mostly tough men and he was sort of trying to be super protective and prove that he is a ‘real man’ that defends his family and he beat the guy for a bad joke.
“I don’t want to call Will Smith uncontrollable…(He has a) violent temper, yes, but I’m sure he realizes what he is doing…But we also can state that his family is more important to him than the Oscars, which is not bad.”
“He did defend his wife after a truly bad joke. The issue was how he did that. I’m sure he could have found a classier way. Also, don’t forget that he is A-list and being A-list in Hollywood means that you can get away with a lot of stuff. A-listers can get away with everything.”
The Ukrainian did publicly apologize at the time but says that he wouldn’t do so now. Smith can be seen in footage from the red carpet saying “Hey! Come on!” as he pushes Sediuk away. He then says “What the hell is your problem, buddy?” before slapping the then-reporter in the face.
In 2018 Smith admitted he had spoken to rapper Jay-Z about the incident shortly after it happened. In an interview with Rap Radar podcast, Smith claimed Jay-Z told him “It was such a breath of fresh air to see you be authentic.”