Denzel Washington reportedly “defused” the situation between Will Smith and Chris Rock.
The 67-year-old actor was in attendance at the 94th Academy Awards when Smith smacked the 57-year-old comedian – who made a joke about his wife Jada Pinkett Smith’s shaven head.
It came on the same night Smith picked up a Best Actor award for his role in King Richard.
Amid emotional scenes, a host of A-list celebs were seen throwing thrown their arms around Smith following his explosion at the Oscars.
Washington was reportedly key to calming the situation down.
“Denzel [Washington] was really the one to defuse the situation,” a source said.
“There were a lot of people and different voices and bifurcated opinions, weighing in on what had just happened and what was the best and quickest course of action.”
During his speech for best actor Smith referenced what Washington had told him.
“Denzel said to me a few minutes ago, ‘At your highest moment, be careful, that’s when the devil comes for you’,” Smith said.
The insider went on to explain that there were also attempts made to check on Rock following the assault and noted that removing Smith from the ceremony was a serious consideration.
The source told the new issue of PEOPLE Magazine: “People were also checking that Chris Rock was okay. Basically there were just minutes to first figure out if it was a stunt and then try to get people on the same page.”
“[Removing Smith] was definitely discussed seriously. You can’t plan for something like this and make a split-second decision.”
The claims come shortly after the Men in Black star – whose actions at the ceremony are under review by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences – shared an apology to Chris on his Instagram.
He wrote: “Violence in all of its forms is poisonous and destructive. My behaviour at last night’s Academy Awards was unacceptable and inexcusable.
“Jokes at my expense are a part of the job, but a joke about Jada’s medical condition was too much for me to bear and I reacted emotionally.
“I would like to publicly apologise to you, Chris. I was out of line and I was wrong.
“I am embarrassed and my actions were not indicative of the man I want to be. There is no place for violence in a world of love and kindness.”
Meanwhile, Pinkett Smith – who has been open about her struggles with alopecia – took to Instagram to share it is time for “healing.”
She wrote: “This is a season for healing and I’m here for it.”