In a recent interview with People, Leslie Jones revealed that her friend, Chris Rock, sought counseling after being slapped by Will Smith at the 2022 Oscars. The incident took place after Rock made a joke about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, before presenting the award for best documentary feature. Smith took offense to the joke and slapped Rock, yelling at him to keep his wife’s name out of his mouth.
Jones expressed her anger and frustration at the incident, stating that she was “infuriated” upon seeing it happen on live television. She believed that Smith should have made amends with Rock when he accepted his best actor Oscar moments later. While Smith did apologize to the Academy and his fellow nominees in his acceptance speech, he did not directly apologize to Rock.
The incident had a profound impact on Rock, according to Jones. She revealed that Rock had to seek counseling with his two adult daughters, as the incident was humiliating for him and affected his family as well.
Smith later apologized directly to Rock in an Instagram post and offered a second apology via video message. He admitted that his behavior was inappropriate and expressed regret for his actions.
As a consequence of the incident, Smith resigned from the Academy and has been banned from appearing at Academy events for 10 years. However, he remains eligible for future Oscar nominations and wins and will keep the Oscar he won during the 2022 ceremony.
Jones believes that Smith could have taken further steps to rectify the situation that night by bringing Rock onstage and apologizing directly to him. She suggested that Smith could have said, “I shouldn’t have done that. Bring Chris out. I cannot accept the Oscar right now because that was fucking wrong.”
In response, Rock criticized Smith earlier this year in his live Netflix special, “Chris Rock: Selective Outrage.” He accused Smith of practicing selective outrage and made reference to the rumors surrounding Smith’s marriage to Jada Pinkett Smith.
Despite the incident, Jones emphasized the strong bond between her and Rock. He wrote the forward for her new memoir, and their friendship dates back to the mid-1990s. Jones described Rock as a brother figure who always gives her perfect advice when she needs it.
Overall, the incident at the 2022 Oscars left a lasting impact on Chris Rock, who sought counseling to cope with the humiliation he experienced. The fallout from the incident led to Smith’s resignation from the Academy and strained his relationship with Rock. However, despite the controversy, Jones and Rock remain steadfast friends and supporters of each other.