Actor Will Smith claimed during an awards show this week that a white actor spit on him while filming “Emancipation” for Apple TV+.
Smith was given the Beacon Award while appearing at the 14th annual African American Film Critics Association Awards. The award is given to “a film that serves as an example for other movies to follow,” said AAFCA’s Gil L. Robertson.
“‘Emancipation’ was the most individual difficult film of my entire career,” Smith said. “It’s really difficult to transport a modern mind to that time period. It’s difficult to imagine that, that level of inhumanity.”
Smith claimed that he was not supposed to be spit on during the scene and that the actor just decided to do it. Smith did not name the actor.
“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, ‘Antoine,’ but I stopped, and I realized that Peter couldn’t have called the director.”
“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.”
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Will Smith talks about being spit on during the filming of EMANCIPATION while accepting the Beacon Award with Antoinw Fuqua at the African American Film Critics Association Awards (AAFCA).. @Variety @theaafca
Watch the full video on my TIKTOK. pic.twitter.com/eKYE89y6mX
— Clayton Davis (@ByClaytonDavis) March 2, 2023