Will Smith recalls being bombarded by paparazzi when he stepped off a plane in Thailand last month...and all because of wife Jada Pinkett Smith.
The 44-year-old actress had just posted on her Facebook page a video in which she vowed to boycott the 2016 Oscars and criticized the Academy over a lack of diversity, following the nominations of an all-white group of actors.
"I was out of the country when she made the video," Will said on BBC Radio 1's Breakfast Show Tuesday. "I was in Thailand. And I get off of the plane and you know, the paparazzi [were like], 'Will, Will, you're not going to the Oscars! What do you think about Jada's video?' 'Um, I think, give me a second, let me call-' I had no idea. I had no idea and I'm like, 'Babe, you gotta give a fellow a little heads up, you know? Just a lil something, just, 'Hey babe, you know, hit me before you walk out of the airport.' You know, give me, give me something."
"I got in the car and Googled and watched the video," he said. "I was like, 'Honey, is there anything you need to tell me?' She said, 'Oh, I didn't want to bother you on vacation.' 'Uh, you did. You really did.'"
Will has spoken about the Oscars diversity controversy before. He said on Good Morning America last month he was "knocked over" by Jada's video and that he would also not attend the Oscars, saying, "We've discussed it and we're part of this community, but at this current time, we're uncomfortable to stand there and say, 'This is OK.'"
While more than half a million people "liked" Jada's post, several people have said online she wouldn't feel this strongly about the issue had Will not been "snubbed." One of his biggest critics was Janet Hubert, the first of two actresses to play his character's Aunt Viv on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, the show that launched his career. Hubert, who has feuding with him for years, posted a rebuttal video to Jada, slamming both actors.
He also said, "Had I been nominated and no other people of color were, she would have made the video anyway." He echoed similar comments in his BBC Radio 1 interview.
"In Hollywood, historically, we've lived out on the edge, we've lived out on the cutting edge of what the future is supposed to be in diversity and inclusion," Will said. "I just didn't see that reflected in the nominees, as [deserving] as anyone is. It's not that anyone is [deserving] and it's not like some black people that should have been there, that is so far from what I am trying to say. It's deeper and bigger than that."
"I've seen people, say, oh, you know, 'If he was nominated, he wouldn't be having this conversation," he said. "I say, let me tell you, if I was the only person of color nominated, my wife would have made two videos."