Will Smith may be one of Hollywood’s nicest stars, but that doesn’t mean he’ll put up with anything. Years ago, a reporter learned the hard way when he attempted to kiss Smith and was smacked by the actor in footage that is still being debated today.
Will Smith discussed the incident, the reactions it elicited, and what Jay-Z thought of the clip in a 2018 interview. See below for their reactions and further information about the situation.
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Will Smith made headlines for slapping a reporter in 2012
Will Smith was strolling the red carpet at a Men In Black III premiere in Moscow when he was approached by Ukrainian journalist Vitali Seduik, who is notorious for celebrity pranks and stunts (via Entertainment Weekly). Seduik hugged Smith before drawing the actor’s face close to his and appearing to kiss him on the lips.
“Hey! Come on!” Smith said as he pushed Seduik away. “What the hell is your problem, buddy?” he continued as he reached up and slapped the journalist in one swift move.
Will Smith said seconds later “he’s lucky I didn’t sucker punch him” and went on to tell David Letterman about how “awkward” the situation truly was.
“He says, ‘I’m you’re biggest fan, can I have a hug?’” Smith recalled. “So I go to give this joker a hug, and he tries to lean in and kiss me!” Smith mentioned that Seduik’s team offered an apology for the reporter’s flagrancy. “They were like, ‘Oh, no, we’re sorry, you know. It’s just his shtick, you know,’” he continued. “I said, ‘Well, that’s why his a** got shtuck.’”
Seduik later told HipHollywood that he was sorry and had acted rashly owing to his admiration for the award-winning actor.
“I don’t take offense [to the slap],” he said. “Of course we have different mentalities about stuff like that, and it’s not a big deal for me to say I’m sorry, Will. It was a splash of emotions and I’m sorry for that. And next time, if I meet him, I’ll just shake his hand.”
Will Smith’s incident with the reporter left Beyoncé and Jay-Z in stitches
Will Smith revealed to Rap Radar in 2018 that he received “10 urgent messages” from Jay-Z following the newsworthy incident.
“I’m in my room and I have ten urgent messages from Jay-Z,” Smith said around the 7:15 mark. “…He’s like, ‘Call me now,’ with exclamation points and I was like, ‘Yo, Jay don’t do that, so I call him and say, ‘What’s up?’”
Will Smith claimed that Jay-Z told him that he and Beyoncé had seen the footage of him slapping the reporter and couldn’t stop laughing.
“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,” Smith said, imitating Jay-Z. “It’s the funniest thing I’ve ever seen. Me and B, we got a show tonight, but we thinking about canceling and just staying in and just watching you slap this dude.”
Smith continued, saying: “We talked about it after and he was like, ‘It was just such a breath of fresh air to see you be authentic.’ But I thought it would be negative and everything, and in this new social media world, it actually, the authenticity was accepted and respected and that was a new thing for me.”
Fortunately, that appears to be the first and only time Smith had an encounter like that on the red carpet.