This past Friday, Chris Rock’s mother, Rosalie “Rose” Rock, finally broke her silence on Will Smith slapping her eldest son onstage at the Oscars at the end of March.
Rose Rock is a motivational speaker and family and youth advocate from Andrews, South Carolina. She was making a round of high schools giving motivational speeches in Columbia when she stopped by to do a one-on-one interview with WIS-TV’s Billie Jean Shaw.
In the interview, she took the time to talk about Will Smith slapping her son, Chris Rock, after he made a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith’s bald head, which she shaves due to an autoimmune disease called alopecia.
Rose was watching the ceremony from home on March 27, and like so many, she originally thought that the slap had been staged. That is until Smith “started using obscenities.”
“When he slapped Chris, he slapped all of us,” Rose told host Shaw. She went on to say that “he really slapped me.”
Speaking as if to Smith in the interview, Rose said, “You reacted to your wife giving you the side-eye and you went and made her day because she was bowled over laughing when it happened.”
She was disappointed in the turn of events of that evening and said that Chris had been excited to present the award for Best Documentary Feature to Questlove, which was overshadowed by reactions to the slap just moments before.
“No one even heard his speech. No one was able to just be in the moment because everyone was sitting there like, ‘What just happened?'”
Rose told Shaw that she called her son after witnessing the events play out on TV to tell him how proud she was of the way he handled himself.
Will Smith has been banned from attending the Oscars for ten years by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, though he is allowed to keep his Oscar for Best Actor—his first Oscar award.
Rose didn’t “see any good way” that the Academy could have peacefully removed Smith from the Oscars that night, and that she thought that his public apology, published to his Instagram account, wasn’t good enough.
“I feel really bad that he never apologized,” she said. “I mean his people wrote up a piece saying I apologize to Chris Rock, but you see something like that is personal, you reach out.”
While his family members have been speaking out in recent weeks, Chris Rock is on record saying that he will not speak about the events of that night unless he gets paid.