Leslie Jones says that her friend Chris Rock sought counseling after being slapped by Will Smith at the 2022 Oscars.
“That shit was humiliating,” she told People. “It really affected him. People need to understand his daughters, his parents, saw that. He had to go to counseling with his daughters.” (Rock shares two adult daughters — Lola, 21, and Zahra, 19 — with ex-wife Malaak Compton-Rock.)
Jones, who was watching the show from home that night, said she was “infuriated” upon seeing the incident take place on live television.
“You don’t know that I was going to jump in my car and roll up there,” she said. “I was so fucking mad on so many levels.”
She added that Smith, who won a best actor Oscar for his role in King Richard only moments later, should have tried to make amends with Rock when he accepted his award. While Smith apologized to the Academy and his fellow nominees in his acceptance speech, he stopped short of saying he was sorry directly to Rock.
The shocking moment at the March 2022 Oscars ceremony came after Rock made a joke about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, before presenting the award for best documentary feature. Rock suggested Pinkett Smith was getting ready to film a sequel to G.I. Jane — which was seemingly a reference to the actress’ shaved head. (Pinkett Smith has been open about her hair loss due to alopecia.)
Smith took the stage and slapped Rock. Returning to his seat, he yelled at Rock: “Keep my wife’s name out of your fucking mouth!”
A day later, he apologized directly to Rock in an Instagram post. He offered a second apology via video message in July of 2022.
“There is no part of me that thinks that was the right way to behave in that moment,” he said.
After the incident, Smith announced he was resigning from the Academy and has been banned from appearing at Academy events for 10 years. He is still, however, eligible for future Oscar nominations and wins, and will retain the Oscar that he won during the 2022 ceremony.
Jones said she believes that Smith could have “fixed” the situation that night when accepting his Oscar. She suggests that he could have said something along the lines of: “I shouldn’t have did that. Bring Chris out. I can not accept the Oscar right now because that was fucking wrong.”
For his part, Rock slammed Smith earlier this year in his live Netflix special, Chris Rock: Selective Outrage!
“Will Smith practices selective outrage,” Rock told the audience. “Outrage because everybody knows what the fuck happened. Everybody that really knows, knows that I have nothing to do with that shit. I didn’t have any entanglements.”
He continued, “His wife was fucking her son’s friend. OK, now, I normally would not talk about this shit, but for some reason, these n—-s put that shit on the internet. I have no idea why two talented people would do something that lowdown. What the fuck? And we’ve all been cheated on. Everybody in here has been cheated on. None of us have ever been interviewed by the person that cheated on us on television.
“She hurt him way more than he hurt me. Everybody in the world called him a bitch. I tried to call the motherfucker, I tried to call that man and give him my condolences, he didn’t pick up for me. … Everybody called him a bitch, and who did he hit? Me — a n—a he knows he could beat. That is some bitch-ass shit.”
Rock wrote the forward to Jones’ new memoir, titled Leslie F*cking Jones. The two comedians met in the mid-1990s and have been friends ever since.
“He’s like my brother,” Jones said of Rock, who also convinced her to (successfully) audition for Saturday Night Live. She added: “He’s just always there to give me the perfect advice when I need it.”
Carol Dennis is an entertainment aficionado with an eye for all things pop culture. She dives into the glitz and glamour of the entertainment industry, from movie premieres to music festivals. Carol’s passion for storytelling extends beyond her reporting, as she’s an aspiring screenwriter in her free time.