Tiffany Haddish defended Will Smith after the “King Richard” Oscar winner slapped Chris Rock on stage during the 94th Academy Awards. Smith took the stage to smack Rock after the comedian made a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith’s shaved bald head. Rock was presenting the Oscar for documentary feature. Pinkett Smith announced last December she was shaving her head because she has alopecia, which causes hair loss. Haddish co-starred with Pinkett Smith in the blockbuster comedy “Girls Trip.”

“When I saw a Black man stand up for his wife. That meant so much to me,” Haddish told People magazine after the Oscars. “As a woman, who has been unprotected, for someone to say like, ‘Keep my wife’s name out your mouth, leave my wife alone,’ that’s what your husband is supposed to do, right? Protect you. And that meant the world to me. And maybe the world might not like how it went down, but for me, it was the most beautiful thing I ever seen because it made me believe that there are still men out there that love and care about their women, their wives.”

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“And that’s their friend,” Haddish added of Rock. “As a friend, why would you do that? He didn’t even run the joke by her, but she was hurt, though. If she wouldn’t have been hurt, he probably wouldn’t have said nothing. But you could see he was clearly … And they exploited it. They exploited her, so … He protected his wife. To me, I went up to her and said, ‘You better suck his dick from the back, girl!’ You better put that in your magazine! That’s what I told her.”

Haddish was spotted talking to Pinkett Smith during a commercial break at the Oscars following the incident. The actor told People that Pinkett Smith appreciated her husband’s actions. Haddish said that Smith is doing “fine.”

The Academy reacted to the slap by issuing the following statement: “The Academy does not condone violence of any form. Tonight we are delighted to celebrate our 94th Academy Awards winners, who deserve this moment of recognition from their peers and movie lovers around the world.”

Smith won the best actor Oscar for “King Richard” following the incident with Rock. During his tearful acceptance speech, Smith apologized to the Academy and his fellow nominees but did not apologize to Rock.

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