Jada Pinkett Smith’s talk show, “Red Table Talk,” returned on Wednesday, and though there was a brief message for viewers alluding to the topic on everyone’s mind, the series sidestepped the elephant in the room: Will Smith’s Oscars slap.
The episode began with a silent black screen and an introductory message, signed from Pinkett Smith, who thanked viewers for joining.
“Considering all that has happened in the last few weeks, the Smith family has been focusing on deep healing,” the message read. “Some of the discoveries around our healing will be shared at the table when the time calls.” The message continued, “Until then…The table will continue offering itself to powerful, inspiring and healing testimonies like that of our incredible impressive first guest.”
The first guest was Janelle Monáe. Once her conversation began at the table, no further mention was made of the Oscars saga in the episode.
There’s no word on whether Monáe’s conversation was filmed before or after the Oscars, but insiders told Variety that some of “Red Table Talk’s” season did film prior to the Academy Awards.
Wednesday’s episode of “Red Table Talk” was originally planned to premiere in the morning at 9 a.m. PT, but instead made a last minute shift to launch later in the day at 12 p.m. PT. Variety has reached out to a spokesperson for the show to inquire whether the time change was due to a possible last-minute insert of Pinkett Smith’s message, but did not immediately hear back, so it’s unclear when the creative decision was made to include the message in the episode, or whether there were any plans to address the Oscars slap in the episode, if at all. However, an individual close to the talk show says the timing delay had nothing to do with the statement and was simply a post-production issue.
“Red Table Talk” on Facebook Watch is hosted by Pinkett Smith, her daughter Willow Smith and her mother Adrienne Banfield Norris. The three multi-generational women conduct interviews with notable stars and engage in candid conversations on the streaming series that has won an Emmy and six NAACP Image awards, among other accolades.
Previously, Will Smith has joined his family’s show to address personal topics with his wife at the table.
While Pinkett Smith promised viewers that “some of the discoveries around our healing will be shared at the table when the time calls,” no further details were released on whether that means her husband will actually appear on the talk show for a sit-down interview, or if the women will simply address the saga through their own conservation.
Last month, the Smiths were at the center of the biggest controversy in Oscars history when Will Smith went up onstage and slapped presenter Chris Rock, who made a joke at Pinkett Smith’s expense about her shaved head. Pinkett Smith has been open about her struggle with hair loss due to alopecia. After the shocking moment, he won the statue for best actor, marking the first Oscar win of his career, and he addressed the slap in a lengthy and tearful acceptance speech, though he did not apologize to Rock at the podium. (He did later, through a statement.)
The saga resulted in the actor resigning from the Academy with the Board of Governors for the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences banning him from attending the Oscars for the next 10 years.
He apologized and stated, “I accept and respect the Academy’s decision,” but has not spoken more at-length about the incident. Many have suspected he will eventually sit down down for a larger television interview, and some have questioned if he would break his silence on “Red Table Talk,” with Oprah or elsewhere.