Denzel Washington was a calming presence at the 2022 Oscars. After Will Smith slapped Chris Rock after delivering a questionable joke about his wife Jada Pinkett Smith, Washington was seen as an immediate mediator to the situation and later consoling the Smiths.

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A week later, PEOPLE notes Washington was on hand at T.D. Jakes International Leadership Summit and detailed why he assisted.

“No way I could have sat in my seat,” Washington said. “That’s just not who I am.”


Variety notes Denzel would reflect on the moment and what he believes happened to Smith.

“There’s a saying when the devil ignores you, then you know you’re doing something wrong,” Washington said. “The devil goes, ‘Oh no leave him alone, he’s my favorite.’ Conversely, when the devil comes at you, maybe it’s because he’s trying to do something right. And for whatever reason, the devil got ahold of him that night.”

Washington would not reveal what was said during the huddles at the award show that included him and Smith, as well as Tyler Perry and Bradley Cooper, but did reveal prayers were exchanged.

“I don’t wanna say what we talked about, but there but for the grace of God go any of us,” Washington said. “Who are we to condemn? I don’t know all the ins and outs of this situation, but I know the only solution was prayer, the way I saw it, the way I see it.”