Chris Rock might have had the world’s sympathy a year ago, but after his recent special, it looks like people are starting to side with Will Smith. The historically problematic comedian took to Netflix over the weekend with a stand-up special in which he finally addresses the slap heard around the world. Unfortunately, he’s come out of this special with less support than he went into it. Michael Jackson’s family has also spoken out about some tasteless jokes Rock made during his set.
Last year Chris Rock took to the Oscar’s stage and made fun of Jada Pinkett-Smith, who recently lost her hair to alopecia. In his recent stand-up special, Rock reveals he’s had issues with Jada for years, stemming back to her request for black celebrities to boycott the Oscars following Will Smith not being nominated for Concussion. Rock, who was scheduled to host that year, says he did not like the family’s approach and joked about how Jada cannot boycott an award show she was not invited to. In his special, he also called Jada a “predator” for dating August Alsina and blamed Will Smith’s anger over the affair for his outburst that evening.
Some sites report that Chris Rock and Jada Pinkett-Smith have history dating back to before they co-starred in Madagascar. In 1997 he hosted a late-night show where he poked fun of a speech Jada Pinkett Smith made during the Million Woman March. None of this sat well with people, particularly parts where he tried to label Will Smith an [expletive] for slapping him in front of white people. Many people online called Rock a hypocrite, saying, “but you had no issue calling a black woman an [expletive] in front of white people, negatively commenting on black women’s hair in front of white people, or letting white people use the N-word around you.”
This is not the first time people have shifted their opinion on Rock in the last year. During his concert tour, he also got some backlash for comparing returning to the Oscars to Nicole Brown Simpson’s passing. “Chris Rock says he turned down hosting the Oscars next year, saying going back to the awards ceremony would be like asking Nicole Brown Simpson ‘to go back to the restaurant’ where she left her eyeglasses before being having her life taken.”
Elsewhere in the special, Chris Rock pointed out the “selective outrage” in the media, pointing out how R. Kelly is treated versus Michael Jackson. Despite both men being accused of the same behavior, Jackson’s music is still celebrated while R. Kelly is actively silenced. Michael’s nephew Taj Jackson did not like this and took to Twitter to call out Chris and side with Will Smith.
“Chris Rock has used my family as punching bags for his entire career,” Taj said in a Tweet. “I am supposed to feel bad for him getting slapped and humiliated on the Oscars?” Taj says that the new clips from Rock special are hurtful and proof that Chris was bullied his entire life. “Thank you Will Smith,” he said at the end.
Chris Rock has not responded to the backlash from his comedy special. Selective Outrage is currently trending at #1 on Netflix.