Will Smith Opens Up About Being Spit on by White Actor While Filming ‘Emancipation’

Photo Credit: Instagram/ @willsmith

Will Smith fought back tears as he recalled the moment a White actor had to spit on him during the filming of the movie ‘Emancipation,’ Fox News reported. 

The actor accepted his Beacon Award at the 14th annual African American Film Critics Association (AAFCA) Awards on Wednesday night. He talked about the emotions he felt while embodying his character, 

“Whipped Peter,”

which was based on a real-life event of an escaped enslaved man who was pictured in 1863 with whip scars all over his back.

Smith said,

“‘Emancipation’ was the most individual difficult film of my entire career… It’s really difficult to transport a modern mind to that time period. It’s difficult to imagine that, that level of inhumanity.”

Smith went on to detail the moment he was spat on.

“It was the second day of shooting and 110 degrees,”

he said.

“I was in a scene with one of the White actors, and we had our lines, and the actor decided to ad-lib. So, we’re doing the scene. I did my line. He did his line. And then he ad-libbed and spit in the middle of my chest. If I had pearls on, I definitely would’ve clutched them. I wanted to say, ‘Antoineeeeee,’ but I stopped, and I realized that Peter (his character) couldn’t have called the director,”

he explained. 

“I sat there, and I took a deep breath, and we did take two, and the actor felt that the ad-lib had gone well. So, we do take two. I do my line. He does his line and spits in the middle of my chest again. I just held in that moment, and there was a part — it makes me teary right now — there was a part of me that was grateful that I got to really understand. And then, in the distance, I hear a voice, and Antoine says, ‘Hey, let’s do a take without the spit.’ And in that moment, I knew that God was real,”

Smith related.

This is Smith’s first in-person Award show since the viral 2022 Oscars slap where he unexpectedly slapped Chris Rock while the comedian was presenting an Oscar during the ceremony. He has been banned from attending any Academy Award events for the next 10 years. 

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