Marlon Wayans Says Will Smith and Chris Rock Will 'Make Amends': 'Will's Going Through Something'

Marlon Wayans tells PEOPLE that in his community "we all respect each other as artists, as individuals, as Black men, as men in general, and this is not the way we conduct ourselves"

Marlon Wayans is confident Will Smith and Chris Rock will make up after the Best Actor winner struck the comedian onstage at the Oscars Sunday after a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith.

Speaking with PEOPLE at the Vanity Fair Oscar Party — where Smith, 53, and his family celebrated his win by dancing — Wayans, 49, said he has known Rock since he was 14 and Smith since he was 20. Smith has "always been such a classic dude," he says, and "I love them both."

He adds, "Chris Rock, he's always Chris Rock; you've got to expect that from Chris Rock. And sometimes when you're best friends, worst things happen and I wish it didn't happen. ... [I] hope they seek out and work it out."

From a comedian's standpoint, Wayans argues, "You've got to be able to crack jokes. You don't know what somebody's going through ... he cracked the wrong joke on the wrong day. And sometimes you hit the wrong person in the wrong moment. ... It was just bad timing."

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The Respect actor says the two should "sit down and talk about it" to get past the controversial moment.


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"A room full of love in our community. We all respect each other as artists, as individuals, as Black men, as men in general, and this is not the way we conduct ourselves, fellas, and we get better. That's all," he says. "You can have mistakes sometimes. Mistakes, that's the best thing to have because moving forward we know that's never going to happen again."

Wayans adds, "They definitely will [make amends], because from Chris there's no beef at all, what's in his heart. That was actually a light joke. Very light. So, I mean, obviously Will's going through something. Sometimes worst things happen on the best day, and this is one of those examples."

At the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles on Sunday, Rock presented an award, taking time to crack a few jokes, including one about Pinkett Smith's appearance. He made a gag about her hair matching Demi Moore's shaved head in the movie G.I. Jane, which she recently opened up about as a result of her years-long struggle with alopecia. Pinkett Smith, 50, was visibly unamused, rolling her eyes from her seat.

Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith attend the 2022 Vanity Fair Oscar Party
Will and Jada Pinkett Smith. Kevin Mazur/VF22/WireImage for Vanity Fair

Seconds later, Smith walked onstage and approached Rock, hitting him in front of the audience and millions watching the telecast at home. Back at his table, Smith shouted to a stunned Rock: "Keep my wife's name out of your f-----g mouth."

Rock declined to press charges. When Smith won Best Actor soon after in the ceremony, he apologized to the Academy and his fellow nominees but did not mention Rock. In his tearful speech, he spoke about acting out of love and protection, saying, "Love makes you do crazy things."

In a statement after the show, the Academy said, "The Academy does not condone violence of any form. Tonight we are delighted to celebrate our 94th Academy Awards winners, who deserve this moment of recognition from their peers and movie lovers around the world," it continued, shifting the focus to the newly minted Oscar winners.

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