Leslie Jones says her boyfriend Chris Rock sought help after being punched by Will Smith at the 2022 Oscars.
“That shit was humiliating,” she said told People. “It really affected him. People need to understand that his daughters, his parents, saw that. He had to go to therapy with his daughters.” (Rock shares two adult daughters – Lola, 21, and Zahra, 19 – with ex-wife Malaak Compton-Rock.)
Jones, who watched the show from home that evening, said she was “furious” when she saw the incident unfold live on television.
“You don’t know I would jump in my car and roll over there,” she said. “I was so damn angry on so many levels.”
She added that Smith, who won an Oscar for Best Actor for his role in King Richard moments later he should have tried to make it up to Rock when he accepted his award. While Smith apologized to the Academy and his fellow nominees in his acceptance speech, he did not directly say he was sorry 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 getting ready to film a sequel GI Jane – which was apparently a reference to the actress’s shaved head. (Pinkett Smith has been open about her hair loss due to alopecia.)
Smith took the stage and punched Rock. When 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 issued a second apology via a video message.
“There is no part of me that thinks that was the right way to behave at that moment,” he said.
After the incident, Smith announced that he was resigning from the Academy and will be banned from appearing at Academy events for ten years. However, he is still eligible for future Oscar nominations and wins, and will keep the Oscar he won at the 2022 awards.
Jones said she believes Smith could have “fixed” the situation that night when he accepted his Oscar. She suggests he could have said something along the lines of, “I shouldn’t have done that. Take Chris outside. I can’t accept the Oscar now because that was damn wrong.”
For his part, Rock Smith hit earlier this year in his live Netflix special, Chris Rock: Selective outrage!
“Will Smith is practicing selective outrage,” Rock told the crowd. “Outrage because everyone knows what the hell happened. Anyone who really knows knows I have nothing to do with that shit. I have had no complications.”
He continued, “His wife fucked her son’s friend. Okay, normally I wouldn’t talk about this crap, but for some reason these Ns put that crap on the internet. I have no idea why two talented people would do something so low-key. What the fuck? And we have all been deceived. Everyone here has been deceived. None of us have ever been interviewed by the person who deceived us on television.
‘She hurt him much more than he hurt me. Everyone in the world called him a bitch. I tried to call the bastard, I tried to call that man and give him my condolences, he didn’t answer. … Everyone called him a bitch, and who did he hit? I – one – one he knows can beat him. That is some bitch-ass shit.”
Rock wrote the foreword 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 audition (successfully). Saturday evening live. She added: “He is always there to give me the perfect advice whenever I need it.”