Bishop Auckland MP Dehenna Davison pens letter to Will Smith 15 years after dad's one-punch death

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Bishop Auckland's MP Dehenna Davison told ITV's Good Morning Britain that "What Will Smith did was completely unjustified", but doesn't think he should be stripped of his Oscar.

Yesterday, Davison published a letter written to Will Smith after the actor slapped comedian Chris Rock during the 2022 Academy Awards ceremony.

The actor has since apologised, after debate over the event circulated worldwide, dominating the press.

The Conservative politician's father Dominic was killed 15 years ago in a so-called 'one-punch' attack, whereby a single blow causes serious injury. Davison was just 13-years-old.

Her letter outlines the emotions she, and other family members of one-punch victims, felt upon seeing Smith strike Rock in the face after the latter made a joke about Smith's wife's hair while presenting an award.

Jada Pinkett-Smith, a Magic Mike XXL star and Red Table Talk host, has previously spoken about her struggles with alopecia and said it is what prompted her to shave her head.

Dehenna Davison's father died 15 years ago when he was punched in a pub. Credit: Family Photo

After referring to herself as a "huge fan" of Smith's work, Davison criticised Rock's joke as being in "bad taste".

She then describes her disappointment to see Smith use his "substantial platform not for good, but for the promotion of violence".

"I too have a deep desire to defend a loved one," Davison's letter continued as she described the death of her father.

"My life was turned upside down, and it was this that led to me getting involved in politics.

"I wanted to do all I could to help ensure other children wouldn't have to experience losing a parent, missing school to sit through court, or attending years of therapy, as I did."

After being elected as MP, Davison set up the All Party Parliamentary Group on One Punch Assaults and worked alongside the charity One Punch UK.

Established by Maxine Thompson-Curl - the South Shields mother who lost her 19-year-old son Kristian to brain damage in 2011 - the charity aims to "reinforce the message that one punch can kill".

Davison's letter went on to name six people "who lost their lives to single punches in the North East... since 2014".

  • Kristian Thompson

  • Cavin McLellan

  • Graham Thurston

  • Lee Devlin

  • Kenneth Brough

  • Anthony Richardson

"This is why I invite you to speak to the All Party Parliamentary Group on One Punch Assaults to discuss our campaign, and to hear the stories of those who have lost loved ones to a single punch," she wrote.

"Please join me to help raise awareness of one punch assaults, to help stop others experiencing the heartache faced by my family, and by far too many others."

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In his acceptance speech, Smith apologised to both the Academy and his fellow nominees, but not to Rock, joking that he “looks like the crazy father".

The actor, 53, said he was ‘heartbroken’ and would accept any consequences that emerged from his scheduled disciplinary Credit: Chris Pizzello/AP

He added: “I want to apologise to the Academy, I want to apologise to all my fellow nominees.

“This is a beautiful moment and I’m not crying for winning an award, it’s not about winning an award for me, it’s about being able to shine a light on all of the people.”

He continued: “Art imitates life, I look like the crazy father, just like they said about Richard Williams, but love will make you do crazy things.”