Chris Rock is not Will Smith’s first awards show slap — as this resurfaced footage from a Men in Black premiere shows.
This isn’t the first time Will Smith has slapped someone at an awards show: A decade ago, he smacked a man in the face on the red carpet for “Men in Black III.”
Video from 2012 shows Smith backhanding Ukrainian jokester Vitalii Sediuk, who was posing as a reporter, in the face while doing interviews for his movie in Moscow.
Seduik — whose wild altercations with celebrities have seen him arrested or served with restraining orders — overstepped the mark when he bizarrely reached out to kiss Smith on both cheeks, claiming that was a traditional Ukrainian greeting.
Smith is seen in the video shoving Sediuk away and demanding, “What the hell is your problem, man?” before giving him a swift backhanded slap in the face.
As the actor’s publicists looked on nervously, Smith is seen in another clip jokingly playing off the slap to the next TV camera crew, stating, “He tried to kiss me on the mouth … he’s lucky I didn’t sucker-punch him. Oh, I said that on camera — you know it’s all good.”
At the time, Smith’s slap was met with approval from his fellow stars. Smith later said on an interview with streaming service Tidal’s Rap Radar podcast that Jay-Z immediately reached out to him.
“I get back and I’m pissed that somebody thinks because you’re famous, they get to do whatever they want to do to you,” Smith says on the podcast. “So I’m in my room and I had 10 urgent messages from Jay-Z.”
Smith said he called Jay back and he said, “I just saw the video of you slapping the dude in Russia. I just want you to know you’ll never make a better piece of entertainment. It’s the funniest thing I’ve ever seen.
“He said, ‘Me and Bey, we got a show tonight, and we’re thinking about cancelling it and just staying in and watching you slap this dude’.”
Sediuk is no angel: His pranks include rushing the stage at the 2013 Grammy Awards as Adele received an award, grabbing Bradley Cooper around the legs at the Screen Actors Guild Awards, and rushing Leo DiCaprio at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival in 2014, trying to bury his face in the actor’s groin before he was dragged away by security.
He was arrested for trespassing at the 2014 Prabal Gurung runway show at New York Fashion Week, and a few months later, at the Cannes Film Festival, he crawled under America Ferrera’s gown, leaving her “shaken.”
That same year, Brad Pitt took out a restraining order against Sediuk after the actor was allegedly struck by the prankster at the premiere of Angelina Jolie’s film “Maleficent”.
But Sediuk still somehow believes he was harshly treated by Smith and insists the actor should not have slapped Chris Rock. He told the UK Sun, “(He has a) violent temper, yes, but I’m sure he realises what he is doing.
“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.”
Reps for Smith didn’t get back to us.
This article was originally published by the New York Post and reproduced with permission
Originally published as Before Chris Rock incident, Will Smith slapped reporter on red carpet