WATCH: Will Smith Smacks Reporter for Attempted Kiss

The Men in Black 3 star got physical with a Ukrainian reporter who tried to kiss him on the mouth. Did Smith cross the line?

It's possible to get too fresh with the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. On Friday, while working the red carpet at the Moscow premiere of Men in Black 3, Will Smith pushed and slapped a Ukrainian reporter who kissed him on both cheeks. Did the star overreact, or did the reporter cross a line? Watch the clip below.
 



In the video, Smith is greeted by a male reporter in a white suit, who hugs him and kisses him on both cheeks. The Oscar nominee then pushes the reporter, slaps him, and asks, "What the hell is your problem, buddy?"

"Hey, sorry, he tried to kiss me on my mouth," Smith explains to crowd as the reporter turns sheepishly away. "He's lucky I didn't sucker punch him."

The smiling, laughing star then apologizes for making the "sucker punch" comment on camera, and continues to the next journalist on the receiving line.

So here's the question everyone is asking: Did the reporter really try to violate Will Smith, or was it a cultural misunderstanding? A hug and kiss on the cheek (or three kisses on alternating cheeks) is a traditional way to greet friends in both Russia and the Ukraine. From the video footage, it's hard to tell if the reporter was actually making a move for Smith's mouth, or if he was just going in for the third cheek kiss. Whatever he did, it obviously made the actor uncomfortable.

And as it turns out, Smith's instincts were probably correct. The reporter has been identified as Vitalii Sediuk, a TV host who, according to the U.K.'s Daily Mail, is "known for his love of kissing celebrities when they least expect it." (He seems to have tried to pull a similar move once with Sarah Jessica Parker; see the footage below.) He's also the guy who gave Madonna hydrangeas at the Venice Film Festival last year, apparently knowing that she'd throw a diva fit over getting her least favorite flower.



So yes, he probably was trying to get a little too touchy-feely with the Men in Black 3 star, and now Sediuk is no doubt loving the international media attention.

Which brings us back to Will Smith's response: Was it too much? The push, the slap, the comment that the guy should be punched -- it does seem like a pretty big reaction to a pretty dumb prank. Some are calling it homophobic, particularly the threat of violence. On the other hand, if a red carpet reporter tried to molest a female star and she slapped him in the face, we'd be cheering. And as several news outlets have pointed out, Smith supports gay marriage, which homophobes, as a rule, do not.

Sometimes a kiss is just a kiss. In this case, however, it was a rude, calculated prank, and a violation of Will Smith's personal space. Maybe Smith overreacted; but maybe, at the time, he was genuinely freaked out. We can't blame him for getting angry. Still -- we're glad that he held back that sucker punch.

 

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