Jesse Watters tried to pull one over on Mel Gibson in an interview Friday on Fox News by asking his thoughts about Will Smith slapping Chris Rock during Sunday’s Oscars telecast — because, as Watter put it, “you understand it probably better than a lot of people.”
It quickly became apparent Gibson had no interest in discussing the matter — and it appeared as if Fox News and Watters had been told as much beforehand.
“You understand it probably better than a lot of people, with your career,” Watters led in with, transitioning from the topic of Gibson’s latest movie, “Father Stu,” which they had discussed for about five minutes (see the full interview below). “And I was wondering if, you know, you had been the one that jumped up out of his seat and slapped Chris Rock, if you would have been treated the same way, Mel?”
A grinning Gibson then points his finger into the camera, spreads his hand and shakes his palm, as if to say, “No, don’t do that,” before an off-camera voice cuts things off.
“Hello, Jesse? Uhm, Thank you. That’s our time,” a female voice says from off-camera.
Gibson continues to smile, looking sideways off-camera then down at his lap.
But Watters pressed on.
“Have you ever thought about that?” Watters asks.
“Uhm, I’m — thank you, Jesse. Uh, we — that is our time,” the off-camera voice responds.
Gibson, now ignoring Watters, keeps his gaze lowered until Watters thanks him for his time, to which Gibson finally looks up and responds with a wave, and the segment ends.
Sony Pictures, the producer and distributor of “Father Stu” and coordinator of the interview, did not immediately respond to a request for comment from TheWrap. Fox News declined to comment.
The interview aired about an hour after Will Smith resigned from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, saying he will accept any further consequences the Academy’s board deems appropriate over his slapping Chris Rock on stage at Sunday’s Oscars ceremony.
The Academy met on Wednesday in an emergency board meeting of its governors to begin its formal review process, and Smith could’ve potentially faced expulsion or suspension from the Academy, as well as potentially becoming ineligible for award consideration.
The Academy’s board will again meet on April 15 to determine additional consequences as part of the formal review process.
Umberto Gonzalez, Sharon Knolle and Brian Welk contributed to this report.