More than 18 months after Will Smith slapped Chris Rock at the Oscars, celebrities are still speaking about the fallout. Following Sean Penn’s claim that the incident “never would have happened” had actor turned Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy been present for the Oscars telecast, Leslie Jones has offered some insight into how Rock dealt with the slap’s aftermath.
“That shit was humiliating. It really affected him,” Jones put it plainly in a recent People interview. “People need to understand his daughters, his parents saw that. He had to go to counseling with his daughters,” she continued, referencing Rock’s children, Lola, 21, and Zahra, 19.
Rock himself has spoken about the slap, which occurred after he made a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith. “I’m not a victim,” Rock said in his Netflix comedy special Selective Outrage. “You will never see me on Oprah or Gayle crying, saying, ‘I couldn’t believe it. I love Men in Black.’” Jones applauded Rock, who wrote the foreword to her new memoir, for speaking about the altercation onstage. “Everybody got pissed off about him doing a special. That’s what comedians do,” Jones said. “Instead of us going crazy we fucking go talk about it on the fucking stage. Thank God we’ve got the stage.”
Jones then expressed her own reaction to the slap, which resulted in Smith’s resignation from the Academy and the actor being banned from attending the ceremony for the next decade. “It made me so infuriated. You don’t know that I was going to jump in my car and roll up there [to the 2022 Oscars],” Jones said. “I was so fucking mad on so many levels. For a long-ass time I was just mad. Chris Rock did a fucking joke. I know Will too…I was like, you couldn’t handle that shit afterwards. This is the Oscars. The whole world is watching.”
She later told Rock, “I was like, ‘Chris, when he got up, why didn’t you run?’ I would’ve been running around that stage like, ‘Will, calm down. Jada, call your man!’” Jones maintained that Smith “could have still fixed it” when he returned to the podium to accept the best-actor award for King Richard. According to Jones, Smith should have said, “‘I shouldn’t have did that. Bring Chris out. I cannot accept the Oscar right now because that was fucking wrong.’”
Rock hasn’t expressly shared his family’s feelings about the slap, but Rose Rock, Chris’s mother, has offered her blunt reaction: “When he slapped Chris, he slapped all of us,” she said shortly after the incident, adding, “he really slapped me. Because when you hurt my child, you hurt me.” In his July 2022 apology video, Smith directly apologized to Rock’s mother and Rock’s brother, Tony Rock, who called the slap “蹿辞耻濒” in a tweet. “We had a great relationship,” Smith says about Tony. “Tony Rock was my man. And this is probably irreparable.” A source told People at the time that Chris Rock was “补蝉蝉别蝉蝉颈苍驳” the incident, but that “the stress of the slap and the aftermath has not taken over his life. Quite the opposite.”