If you thought we were all done hearing about Will Smith slapping Chris Rock at the Academy Awards in 2022, you’re wrong.
In a new interview, comedian Leslie Jones shared her disappointment in the moment, revealing the effect that it actually had on Rock, who is a good friend of the star. He was the one who suggested she audition for Saturday Night Live, saying her name in the right rooms to make that happen, and wrote the foreword to her new memoir, Leslie F*cking Jones.
“It made me so infuriated,” Jones told PEOPLE. “You don’t know that I was going to jump in my car and roll up there. I was so f–king mad on so many levels.”
Calling Rock a “brother” to her, she said she would have preferred to see the situation handled differently since the Academy Awards are a global event. “For a long a– time I was just mad,” she said. “Chris Rock did a f–king joke. I know Will, too… I was like, you couldn’t handle that s–t afterwards? This is the Oscars. The whole world is watching.”
“He could have still fixed it,” she added, saying that when he went to the stage to accept his Best Actor award for his work in King Richard, he could have done more. She says he could have said, “‘I shouldn’t have did that. Bring Chris out. I can not accept the Oscar right now because that was f–king wrong.'”
In the end, she says the moment brought more than embarrassment to Rock. It impacted his family, too. “That s–t was humiliating. It really affected him,” she recalled. “People need to understand his daughters, his parents, saw that. He had to go to counseling with his daughters.”
But Rock also got to speak up for himself. His Netflix comedy special, Selective Outrage, he actually joked about the incident and noted that he didn’t tussle with Smith in the moment because his family was watching.
“A lot of people go ‘Chris, how come you didn’t do nothing back, how come you didn’t do nothing back that night?'”, he said at the end of his set. “Cause I got parents, that’s why. Cause I was raised. I got parents and you know what my parents taught me? Don’t fight in front of white people!”
Interestingly enough, Rock’s family members did share their anger about the slap, including his mother, Rosalie.
“When he slapped Chris, he slapped all of us,” she said in 2022, adding, “he really slapped me. Because when you hurt my child, you hurt me.”