Leslie Jones says her boyfriend Chris Rock sought counseling after being slapped by Will Smith at the 2022 Oscars.
“That shit was humiliating,” she said told People. “It really touched him. People need to understand that his daughters and his parents saw this. He had to go to counseling with his daughters.” (Rock has two adult daughters – Lola, 21, and Zahra, 19 – with his ex-wife Malaak Compton-Rock.)
Jones, who was watching the show from home that evening, said she was “angry” when she saw the incident live on television.
“They don’t know that I would jump in my car and roll up there,” she said. “I was so damn angry on so many levels.”
She added that Smith was recognized for his role in ” King Richard He should have tried to make amends with Rock just moments later when he accepted his award. While Smith apologized to the Academy and his fellow nominees in his acceptance speech, he refrained from directly expressing his condolences to Rock.
The shocking moment at the March 2022 Oscars came after Rock made a joke about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, before presenting the award for best documentary. Rock suggested that Pinkett Smith was preparing to film a sequel GI Jane – which appeared to be 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. As he returned to his seat, he yelled at Rock, “Keep my wife’s name out of your damn mouth!”
A day later, he apologized directly to Rock in an Instagram post. In July 2022, he apologized for the second time via video message.
“There is no part of me that thinks that was the right way to behave in that moment,” he said.
Following the incident, Smith announced his resignation from the academy and was banned from attending academy events for ten years. However, he remains eligible for future Oscar nominations and wins and will retain the Oscar he won at the 2022 ceremony.
Jones said she believes Smith could have “fixed the situation” that night when he accepted his Oscar. She suggests he could have said something like, “I shouldn’t have done that.” Take Chris out. I can’t accept the Oscar right now because that was fucking wrong.”
Rock, for his part, criticized Smith in his live Netflix special earlier this year: Chris Rock: Selective outrage!
“Will Smith practices selective outrage,” Rock told the audience. “Outrage because everyone knows what the hell happened. Anyone who really knows knows I have nothing to do with this shit. I had no involvement.”
He continued: “His wife fucked her son’s friend. Okay, normally I wouldn’t talk about this shit, but for some reason these n–s put this shit on the internet. I have no idea why two talented people would do something so profound. What the hell? And we were all cheated. Everyone here has been scammed. None of us have ever been interviewed on television by the person who cheated on us.
“She hurt him way more than he hurt me. Everyone in the world called him a slut. I tried to call the motherfucker, I tried to call this man and express my condolences, he didn’t pick up for me. …Everyone called him a bitch, and who did he hit? Me – and – he knows he can beat. This is some fucking shit.”
Rock wrote the foreword to Jones’ new memoir entitled 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 him Saturday Night Live. She added: “He’s just always there to give me the perfect advice when I need it.”