Chris Rock ‘doesn’t need to talk’ to Will Smith, ‘Will needs to deal with his issues’

Since the Oscars, Chris Rock has been performing at stand-up gigs across the country. He’s been workshopping several jokes about getting slapped by Will Smith, including a “joke” in which Chris refers to Will as “Suge,” as in Suge Knight, the gangster/former Death Row CEO notorious for beating the crap out of people and pulling guns on them. Before Will Smith’s YouTube apology last Friday, that was the headline – that Rock was calling Smith “Suge” in his act. Following Will’s YouTube apology, this piece appeared in People:

A source tells PEOPLE that Rock, 57, had “moved on” from the incident before Smith, 53, issued his first on-camera apology on Friday since the awards ceremony in March.

“Chris doesn’t need to talk. This is clearly something that bothers Will more than Chris,” the insider says of the pair. “Will needs to deal with his issues. Chris is fine.”

Another industry source adds that it is a positive sign that the comedian is already making light of the incident in his stand-up.

“The fact that he is making jokes about it already is a good thing,” the source says. “That means he is assessing it. But the stress of the slap and the aftermath has not taken over his life. Quite the opposite.”

[From People]

….??? I mean…? It’s Chris Rock’s right to make fun of the slap or process sh-t on stage, of course. Just as I would argue that it’s Will Smith’s right to process his sh-t however he wants too, which apparently includes public apologies. The whole “Chris doesn’t need to talk” reeks of insecurity from Rock though. I’ve wondered this whole time if Rock has had any moments where he regrets making Will and Jada the butt of his jokes, or if he specifically regrets making a “joke” at the expense of a woman with alopecia on the night her husband was about to win an Oscar. I’m just saying, there could be many reasons why Rock doesn’t want to meet face to face with Will. As for Will, People Mag also had a long-winded story about why he made that YouTube video:

Will Smith posted his recent apology video to Chris Rock in an effort to move forward from their Oscars incident — and he’s still working on himself. A source tells PEOPLE of Smith, “From a person who has never displayed anything like [the slap], he’s very aware that isn’t someone he will ever be again,” adding, “He’s deeply remorseful, he is still doing a lot of work and he’s also human and made a mistake. He’s going to move forward with the same positivity that he always had.”

“If you spend your life beating yourself up over one thing then it’s really hard to move forward as the positive, joyful person that you know you are,” says the insider. “But he’s also in a very human place, recognizing that mistake and really looking at it and not brushing over it. He really needed to do the work, and that was very important to him.”

Addressing Smith’s decision to post the video, the source says: “There was no rhyme or reason to it other than time had passed, work had been done, the same questions had been bubbling up and also people were really wanting to hear from him in other ways, not even about this. There was just a general feeling that it’s time and he’s at a place where he had more things he wanted to say,” the insider adds. “He has always had that direct connection to people on social media and he felt it was appropriate now to show up and answer some questions. And he read them and answered them honestly. He’s worked with a therapist, people saw him in India at an ashram, but a lot of it has just been quietly at home,” says the source.

[From People]

It sort of sounds like Will is trying to work some kind of 12-step program, only it’s not for drugs or alcohol. A 12-step program for losing his temper and slapping someone on live television. Anyway, I hope both Smith and Rock know that they don’t actually have to hash everything out in person. Bring back simmering grudges! Bring back “hating someone and never wanting to be in the same room with them.”

Embed from Getty Images

Photos courtesy of Getty, Avalon Red.

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70 Responses to “Chris Rock ‘doesn’t need to talk’ to Will Smith, ‘Will needs to deal with his issues’”

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  1. Harla says:

    I admit that I haven’t cared at all that Will slapped Chris my only anger has been that no one cares that Chris insulted Jada. Out of this entire mess, the only person who should be apologizing is Chris and he should be apologizing to Jada. I hate that the rudeness shown to Jada has been completely overshadowed by Will and Chris.

    • AE says:

      Agreed – 100%

    • Julie says:

      Chris disrespected Jada because he didn’t think Jada and Will would be able to do anything about it in that moment. Will proved him wrong and still made 30 million on his next project.

    • Rock’s GI Jane joke only insults J.Smith if she has alopecia, right? Closeups of her shaven scalp reveal no patches without hair follicles. The Smiths are thin-skinned, not thin-haired. Being a celebrity requires being able to deal with public criticism whether in jest or not — about both appearances, behavior, opinions, etc.

      • From what I understand, they have history together and this is not CLOSE to the first joke he has made about Jada. He’s really bullied her and that’s why Will lost it.

        Say whatever you want about the slap but Chris Rock owes Jada an apology and he looks small, gross and misogynistic not giving it to her. What is it with these comics turning into MRA bullying types?

      • laurelcanyoner Are both violence and humor in the eyes of the beholder/listener?

    • Lolo86lf says:

      I feel bad for Jada because she is really the main victim. She was insulted then in real time in front of the world and now she has to watch Will go through the regret of losing his temper. Will won’t be able to move on until he is forgiven by Chris and God only knows when that is going to happen if it happens at all.

    • Sshark_29 says:

      Exactly, men always make it about them.Chris Rock needs to apologize publicly to Jada & quit making fun of peoples medical problems. I used to be ambivalent in regards to Rock, I can’t stand him now.

      • For decades, the Oscars have featured comedians/celebrities making jokes of celebrities, including those attending and those nominated. Rock made fun of other celebrities this year too. Can’t understand why JSmith should not be made fun of like everyone else — regardless of whether or not there is “history” between her and anyone else.

        In 2016, Rock hosted the Oscars [the year W. and J. Smith publicly stated they wouldn’t attend]. Rock made jokes about both Smiths including for their boycotting because W Smith hadn’t been nominated and for W was paid $20M for the awful “Wild Wild West.” Rock also made fun of himself [as he always does]. Later, when asked about Rock’s jokes about them, JSmith said: “it comes with the territory.”

        How was it any different this time?

    • Emme says:

      Totally agree!

    • susan says:

      Chris Rock had it coming.

  2. girl_ninja says:

    I am happy for Will and his process. He has always seemed sincere and real to me. He and Jada overshare but I think that is their way of having fun with their lives. Last we heard from Chris was that he was still “processing” everything that happened. Okay cool Chris keep processing and making jokes about what happened. I still think that Chris thrives in being cruel to black women and putting them down. I cannot stand him and would be fine if I didn’t hear from him again.

  3. MissMarirose says:

    It’s Rock’s right not to accept Smith’s apology. He’s under no obligation to do that. Full stop.

    I wonder, though, about the accuracy of his publicist’s statement that he’s “moved on.” Has he really, though, if he’s still making jokes about it in his act?

    • Kate says:

      I think “moved on” is code for doesn’t want to forgive Will and also doesn’t want to continue to be associated with something that was humiliating for him, except to distance the humiliation via jokes. Which is fine. Not everything in life can be tied up with a nice bow.

  4. Kirsten says:

    This is exactly right. Victims do not owe their abusers anything, and Will Smith’s video was an attempt to try and pressure Rock into something he either isn’t ready for or doesn’t want to do at all.

    • Goldie says:

      Earlier this year, Chris publicly stated that Will had not reached out to him to apologize. So I think it’s fine for Will to say that he’s tried to reach out and Chris doesn’t want to talk to him. Perhaps both men can just move on.

    • MrsBanjo says:

      Chris should then quit taunting Jada in his comedy bits like he’s been doing for over 20 years.

      Will slapped Chris once. That does not make him an abuser. However, Chris has been bullying Jada for years.

      • Kirsten says:

        Sorry, but Smith assaulted Rock in front of a room of their peers and on international television, in order to put him in his place — that is 100% abusive behavior.

      • equality says:

        So when Rock makes misogynistic jokes on international television is that abusive behavior?

      • Kirsten says:

        No. It is a joke. He’s a comedian and that was what he was being paid to do. People don’t have to think it’s funny. People can think it’s in bad taste. People can be offended. But it’s not the same thing as physically assaulting someone.

      • Emme says:

        @Kirsten, no it wasn’t a joke. It wasn’t funny. He deserved what he got, not for this one single incident, but for being cruel to Jada for a long time. A bully got humiliated. Good!

      • equality says:

        @Kirsten So it’s okay to abuse anybody you wish by making hurtful “jokes” as long as YOU think it’s funny? Wow.

      • Blubb says:

        I think it is never ok to respond with physical voilence to a verbal insult. This is not a situation of self defence, Will or his wife were not physically in danger. This was not even “out of reflex”. He had a long as walk toward the stage to think about what he would do. I still like Will Smith and think it is ridiculous that he was banned from future Oscars. But I can’t understand why so many people say that “Rock deserved it” because he made fun of Jada. There would have been other, more effective ways for him to deal with that and and bring attention to the issue. He lost his temper, that sucks, but there is no point in defending his decision.

        Every abuser has from their point of view “a good reason” to do what they do. These reasons generally do not make sense for other people, so we luckily still hold people accountable. It’s dangerous to accept violence just because we “see their case”.

    • girl_ninja says:

      The slap was public so why not apologize to Chris in public as well. That doesn’t mean he’s trying to pressure Chris into anything.

      • Blithe says:

        I agree with this. I also think Will made his apology publicly in an attempt to address / respond to / placate (?) all of the many, many public comments that have been made that have described the incident in wildly, grossly — and often racially stereotyped — exaggerated terms.

    • Justwastingtime says:

      To address this latest iteration ( not the original incident) , Will Smith doesn’t get to dictate when it’s time for Chris to discuss this. Will made a very late apology, that was his choice but that doesn’t mean that Chris is now required to meet with him ( as the article suggested).

  5. Ariel says:

    I feel like Chris is basically saying to Will- keep my name out of your mouth.
    I think he has every right to remove himself from this redemption narrative that a big movie star like Will is engaging in.
    How Mr. Rock deals with it- and it has to have caused embarrassment and anger- is his business.

  6. Colby says:

    Nobody has to forgive or speak to anyone who hurt them about anything.

    Chris doesn’t have to speak to Will, Jada doesn’t have to speak to Chris.

    It’s all ok.

    • Debbie says:

      Actually, it’s not “all ok.” Chris never did apologize to Jada (and likely never will).

  7. Ameerah says:

    He doesn’t have to accept Will’s apology. But he also needs to deal with his issues. Like why he spent two decades bullying a woman who didn’t want him and why he hates Black women so much.

  8. Mel says:

    Chris Rock is a comic, making jokes about things that happened to them, good or bad is how they roll. No, he doesn’t owe Will Smith a sit down. I’m not surprised that everyone here is bending over backwards to defend one Black Man who assaulted another Black Man on tv and he somehow was right to do it because his wife was “insulted’. Some of people are still stuck in High School. Will has issues that he needs to deal with and he doesn’t owe it to him to help him work it out.

  9. K8erade says:

    Chris isn’t wrong but it’s the pot calling the kettle black if you ask me. Will was wrong to have slapped him and I have a list of my own issues with Will and Jada, not least of which is their negligent passive parenting of their kids and making their toxic relationship public. But Chris is a bully of the worst order and his comedy of degrading others has never been funny.

  10. lunchcoma says:

    It’s possible Will is doing something about anger management on his own. I think he had a point that night, but I don’t see anything wrong with someone who regrets the way he lost his temper talking it over with his therapist, either. Ideally, you should talk about things with your therapist in borderline situations rather than waiting for one where you’re completely out of line.

    As for Chris, this makes him sound like even more of an asshole. He doesn’t need to and probably shouldn’t interact with Will directly, but waving this off as nothing (presumably on the grounds that he did nothing wrong) is kind of a jerk move. Apparently he’s not as capable of self-reflection as Will is.

    • Coco says:

      I’m not sure how this makes Chris sound like an asshole ( he is one ) but he doesn’t have to accept the apology or have a talk about it with Will and he can joke about it too.

      Same way Jade doesn’t have to accept any apology from Chris and can use it to talk about it on her red table show. I do agree that Chris dose need to do a lot of work on his self.

      • lunchcoma says:

        I agree that no one needs to accept any apology from anyone, but having your rep (and this pretty clearly is someone from Chris’s team) say, “Will needs to deal with his issues,” is jerky. He could just not respond to this, or address in his act through jokes.

      • Emmitt says:

        How it makes Chris Rock look like the asshole (he is) is by claiming to be unbothered, making passive aggressive jokes, milking his victim status but then claiming to have moved on and that Will needs to move on.

        Chris Rock has every right NOT to forgive Will Smith. It’s fine if he doesn’t. He actually shouldn’t…I know I wouldn’t.

        But, if Jada is going to be called out for milking her alopecia status for sympathy, then Chris Rock also needs to be called out on those same standards.

        Will Smith from here on out should actually ignore Chris Rock and move on and never mention the man’s name again.

    • Sue E Generis says:

      I agree with this. Chris isn’t the innocent he’s trying to portray. Will Smith actually did him a favor, inadvertently and he’s playing that for all it’s worth. While Will’s behavior was wrong, I think Chris is the a-hole. Always has been.

  11. AnneL says:

    I think they can/should all process how they want to. Whatever works for them.

    I’m not at all surprised Rock is making jokes about it in his act, nor do I have a problem with that. It was a big news story. Millions of people watched it happen. It was pretty shocking at the time. And it happened to HIM, so It’s perfect fodder really, right there for the taking. Comedians always need new material. It’s not like he’s punching down.

  12. Case says:

    No one is ever under any obligation to accept an apology. I get the sense that Will is more apologetic that he ruined what should’ve been the best night of his life (understandably) more than he’s apologetic for slapping someone anyway, and Chris probably recognizes this.

    There seems to be a general sentiment online that “well, Chris Rock making a comment about Jada is just as bad as Will Smith getting up and slapping him” and I just…will never agree with that. There’s a LOT of nuance here (frankly, too much for the internet to handle), and what Chris said about Jada was clearly overstepping and caused harm, and is clearly part of a wider problem he has with attacking Black women. He should address that. But many things can be true at once, and Will going out of his way to get up on stage and slap a fellow performer will always feel so bizarre and uncalled for to me.

  13. Amy Bee says:

    Eff Chris. He got what he deserved.

  14. Marla Hooch says:

    I can’t believe we have to watch grown-a*$ men work out their inability to process their feelings in a healthy way on a public stage and the praise them for “accountability” and “growth”. The patriarchy sucks.

  15. Lizzie Bathory says:

    Chris Rock is an asshole & owes Jada an apology, which I doubt he’ll ever issue.

    I worry about Will. He seems to be struggling to regulate his emotions & impulses. If I had to guess, I’d say that tactics that have worked in the past are failing him, which makes it more likely he might feel the need to self medicate, but that provides only temporary relief. I hope he’s ok.

  16. Lizzie says:

    Insulting a woman’s appearance is always a go-to for the lazy male comedian. Rock looked like a fool.
    Jada was simply stunning that night. Face, dress, jewelry, and hair – I couldn’t take my eyes off of her. Before everything came out I thought she shaved her hair because she is fabulous.

  17. Bisynaptic says:

    Chris Rock needs to deal with his issues.

  18. NorthernGirl_20 says:

    Violence is not the answer Will should never have done that especially on stage at the Oscars.

    • MyCatLovesTV says:

      I couldn’t agree more. As soon as you assault someone, you have lost any right to the high ground.

    • justwastingtime says:

      Yes, totally agree. Will doesn’t get a pass here, and the apology is both late and somewhat of a transparent effort to rehab his tarnished image.

  19. MRowe says:

    The thing that has always stuck out to me is that all the pics and videos of Will and Jada partying it up later that night have been scrubbed from the internet. I do believe the impact of the slap didn’t come to light until the next day. And that what he’s sorry about isn’t what he did to Chris but what he did to himself.

    • Driver8 says:

      Couldn’t agree more. I hope everytime Will Smith sees that Oscar, he’s reminded of that slap. Chris Rock made a tacky joke. Will could have handled it much better. It’s surprising to me how many people are defending him.

      • Justwastingtime says:

        Will had a pretty perfect image (despite the whole open marriage and scientology rumors). People like upbeat positive people – and that is what Will Smith appears to be. Who knows what he is really like (I don’t pretend to know).

  20. Chris Rock is right. He is under no obligation to cure Will Smith’s anger issues. Smith is clearly trying to do damage control — that’s his problem — not Rock’s.

  21. Emmi says:

    This is why you never win when you physically attack someone. It may even be understandable that you lose your temper but whatever the other person did or has done for years, people will focus on that one moment where you reacted physically.

    Now Chris Rock can pretend to be above it all, above Will, above the incident. He can even work it into his act. And he will definitely never apologize to Jada. Because Will was wrong. Period.

    I don’t agree with this take but we see how it’s playing out. God, I wish Will had won, gone up there, and torn Chris a new one. Verbally.

    • Sunnee says:

      Emmi- couldn’t say it any better than you just did. Chris has no obligation to forgive or even to engage with the man who physically assaulted him.
      Chris is a comedian- one of the best out there- and he will work this out the way he knows how- by making jokes and raking in the $.
      Will has to work this out on his own. Reflect on his actions and do a deep dive on why. That’s “above” Chris now.

  22. Well Wisher says:

    Now that Will Smith has once more apologised, I am hoping that he would not have to talk about this in film promotions. He is a very good conversationalist, and it will be excruciating to listen to this non issue.
    I am happy he is getting the help he needs, he has added another tool in his mental health box, however painful it started.
    I hope that Will, like many people who matters, is now aware why this unfortunate ordeal was orchestrated even if it is a poor consolation that he was not seen as disposable by his ‘friends’.
    Will has to forgive himself, accept his vulnerability as his strength gracefully.

    All he needs to do is use every given or self-created opportunity to continue to create complex and complete characters that broaden the spectrum of the human experience.
    Imagine that all Jada did was to not accept Rock’s romantic overture, but had to suffer from his ‘incel’ lite behaviour for decades.

    Rock will continue to profit from his cruel and vulgar sense of humour because this is the world we live in, unlike my old country where at the initial start of this nonsense a discreet ass-whooping, would have been administered.
    Making it necessary for Rock to changed his behaviour towards black women in particular and alter the trajectory of this stale saga.
    Now, it has been established that there are no longer any victims, only willing accomplices – it is fait accompli.
    “This too shall pass”.

  23. Roast says:

    Comparing Jada to Demi Moore at her absolute hottest is an insult??? This whole thing is absurd. Will should not have assaulted Rock. Rock didn’t file charges when he should have. Jada had just publicly declared that she didn’t give a s!@t about what anyone thought about her hair. Will came out of this looking like a total douche. Jada should have gone on to make GI Jane 2 and turned Rock”s perceived slight into a win (because I’d watch it). There’s no excuse for what Will did. Period.

    • Case says:

      The comment is problematic because of Jada’s alopecia. I completely agree that in isolation, his comment was absolutely not an insult but rather a comment on her whole look (which included an army-ish green dress) and comparing her to a super badass, beautiful character. I didn’t take it at all as an insult in the moment, but also can understand why she feels sensitive about it given the condition she has.

  24. Emmitt says:

    If Chris Rock is going around saying Will Smith = Suge Knight, when we have not ever seen Will display any of this behavior (publicly) ever, then he is very much bothered and triggered by Will. What happened to him was very humiliating and can’t be easily forgotten. He needs to save the “I’m unbothered” act because he is very much bothered and milking his victim role.

    Chris Rock is not sorry about anything he said about Jada. He IS very sorry he got pimp slapped on (inter)national television, though.

    As for Will, he spent too much time worrying about what other people thought of him. He spent 30 years crafting a “I’m a Safe Black Guy” narrative, only for all of that to be thrown away in one instance and equated to potentially killing Betty White and on par with OJ Simpson. So I hope part of his healing journey is to 1) accept that Chris Rock and others will never forgive him for what he did, 2) forgive himself for what he did, 3) be true to himself and not craft narratives or live his life according to what he thinks other people should think of him.

  25. lola says:

    Sick of the fucking misogynoir from Chris Rock and a whole number of other men who want to act the victim.

  26. Annaloo. says:

    I feel once an apology is out there, the receiver doesn’t have any obligation to the apologizer to do anything more. I know people who have gone into overload mea culpas, and it just makes you feel uncomfortable, Chris has every right to use the material for his stand up…if Will Smith doesn’t like it, he should apologize to himself for making the choice to get up there and slap Rock, bc it gave Rock that life experience to inform his comedy.

    I think both are mentally 7 year olds.

  27. J says:

    These comments are insane. I can’t believe the way people are justifying physically attacking someone. What in the purge is going on here? It’s ok to be angry at what other people say. That’s perfectly valid. But violence? And I’m talking PHYSICAL violence as a response to someone saying something you don’t like? What a terrible, dangerous precedent. And the saddest thing is that Will standing up and simply saying “keep my wife’s name out of your f***ing mouth” would have been powerful enough. It really would have been. I was stunned enough, at home, watching it live. He didn’t have to resort to any kind of physical violence. I’m so completely sad about the public discourse around this issue.

  28. Duchcheese says:

    I’m just here LOLing 🤣at Rock calling Smith Suge Smith, oh my goodness. Wonder shall never end 😆😅🤣