Leslie Jones says Will Smith Oscars slap was 'humiliating' for Chris Rock: 'He had to go to counseling'

Leslie Jones says Will Smith Oscars slap was 'humiliating' for Chris Rock: 'He had to go to counseling'

Leslie Jones wasn't in the room when Will Smith infamously slapped Chris Rock on stage at the Oscars — but she wished she was.

In a new interview with PEOPLE, the Saturday Night Live alum and close friend to Rock recalled her reaction to the shocking moment while watching the 94th Academy Awards at home.

"It made me so infuriated," Jones said. "You don't know that I was going to jump in my car and roll up there. I was so f---ing mad on so many levels."

She added that she has spoken to Rock about the altercation, and it took a significant toll on him. "That s--- was humiliating," Jones said. "It really affected him. People need to understand his daughters, his parents, saw that. He had to go to counseling with his daughters."

Representatives for Rock didn't immediately respond to EW's request for comment Monday.

Leslie Jones, Will Smith, and Chris Rock
Leslie Jones, Will Smith, and Chris Rock

Roy Rochlin/Getty Images; Frazer Harrison/Getty Images; Jason Kempin/Getty Images Leslie Jones, Will Smith, and Chris Rock

Jones went on to say that she was upset for a long time after the slap. "Chris Rock did a f---ing joke," she said. "I know Will, too… I was like, you couldn't handle that s--- afterwards? This is the Oscars. The whole world is watching."

The headline-making moment came last year when Rock, who was presenting the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature, made a joke about Smith's wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, having a shaved head; the actress has alopecia, a condition that causes hair loss. Smith confronted Rock on stage, struck him, and told him, "Keep my wife's name out of your f---ing mouth."

Smith remained at the ceremony and won Best Actor shortly after. In the ensuing days, Smith resigned from the Academy and apologized to Rock.

In addition to Smith's initial reaction, Jones told PEOPLE that he could have handled his acceptance speech better. "He could have still fixed it," she said, such as by saying, "'I shouldn't have did that. Bring Chris out. I can not accept the Oscar right now because that was f---ing wrong.'"

Jones also spoke positively of Rock's recent comedy special, Selective Outrage, and his decision to address the slap.

"Everybody got pissed off about him doing a special. That's what comedians do," she said. "Instead of us going crazy we f---ing go talk about it on the f---ing stage. Thank God we've got the stage."

In her upcoming memoir, Leslie F*cking Jones, the comedian details more of her relationship with Rock, whom she met in the mid-'90s and forged a bond with as she struggled to get a foothold in the standup comedy world.

Rock wrote the foreword to the book, which hits shelves Tuesday.

Sign up for Entertainment Weekly's free daily newsletter to get breaking TV news, exclusive first looks, recaps, reviews, interviews with your favorite stars, and more.

Related content: