Chris Rock’s mother Rose Rock spoke about the infamous Oscars slap involving her son for the first time in a new interview where she also criticized the Academy’s punishment as well as Will Smith for not personally apologizing.
Speaking to WIS’ Soda City Live, Rose admitted that she — like the millions watching the Oscars on television — first thought that Smith slapping Rock was a comedic bit. “I thought it was [staged] at first until he started with the obscenities,” Rose said.
“I told someone, when Will slapped Chris, he slapped all of us, but he really slapped me,” Rose continued. “When you hurt my child, you hurt me.” Rose added that Chris is “doing well” and “still processing” what happened on Oscars night.
When asked what she would say to Smith, Rose said, “I have no idea what I would say other than ‘What in the world were you thinking?’ Because you did a slap but so many things could have happened from that: Chris could have stepped back and fallen. You really could’ve gotten taken out in handcuffs. You didn’t think, you reacted to your wife giving you the side-eye and you went up and made her day because she was bowled over laughing when it happened.”
Following the incident, the Academy banned Smith from attending the Oscars and all related events for 10 years, a punishment that Rose thought was comical. “What does that mean? You don’t even go every year,” Rose said. “They boycotted a year they weren’t even invited. It’s all kind of funny.”
While some have called for Smith’s Best Actor Oscar to be voided, Rose disagreed. “I wouldn’t take his award away, and I don’t see any good way they could have taken him out without disrupting, so I’m really, really proud of the way Chris handled it,” she told WIS.
Rose also expressed sympathy for Questlove, whose Best Documentary win was overshadowed by the slap, “No one heard his speech, no one was able to be in the moment because everybody was sitting there like ‘What just happened?’” (The documentary’s producer previously echoed that sentiment.)
While Smith apologized to Rock after the incident on social media and through statements, Rose criticized the actor for not reaching out to Chris personally to say sorry.
“I feel really bad that [Will] never apologized,” Rose said. “His people wrote up a piece and said ‘I apologize to Chris Rock,’ but to see something like that, it’s personal. You reach out.”