Will Smith has received Oscar nominations for his acting chops, but his rap mogul friend Jay-Z believes the actor was the most entertaining when he slapped a reporter on a red carpet in Russia six years ago.
In 2012, a Ukrainian reporter attempted to kiss the actor during his promo tour for Men In Black 3 in Russia. Smith responded by slapping the reporter in a moment that went viral.
During a Rap Radar interview posted on the streaming service Tidal this week Smith revealed that the awkward moment served as entertainment for rap mogul Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter and his wife Beyoncé. The actor said Jay-Z sent him multiple messages after the slapping incident.
When he got around to calling the rapper back, Jay-Z expressed the humor in the ordeal. In the Tidal interview, Smith recalled his conversation with Jay-Z.
“‘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,'” Jay-Z told Smith, according to the actor. “‘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 previously spoke about the incident in detail on The Late Show With David Letterman.
“It’s just awkward Dave,” Smith previously told Letterman, according to CBS reports. “They were saying ‘Oh, we’re sorry, that’s just his schtick.’ And I said, ‘Well that’s why his a** got schtuck.'”
Vitalii Sediuk the reporter in question who kissed Smith has become known for pulling pranks on Ukrainian television issued a public apology to the actor. In an interview with Hip Hollywood the television personality apologized for his behavior and acknowledged that he thought it was “too much.”
Sediuk said he deeply respected Smith as an actor and wanted to impress him with the stunt.
“We have a Slavic tradition…” Sediuk said, according to TMZ. “I don’t kiss every man or women when I see them in the street… but that time I decided to do that.”
However, he admitted that in the future it may be best to try a different approach with the actor.
“Next time, if I meet him, I’ll just shake his hand,” he said.
Aside from discussing the 2012 incident in his most recent interview with Tidal, Smith also opened up about his marriage to Jada Pinkett Smith, his father’s death and President Donald Trump.