Comedian Chris Rock unapologetically ignored an embargo on Jussie Smollett jokes at Saturday night’s 2019 NAACP Image Awards. Smollett, who was nominated for an award but did not show up at the event, was thoroughly roasted by Rock over the “Empire” star’s apparent racially motivated hate crime hoax carried out in January.
“They said ‘No Jussie Smollett jokes,'” said Rock, presenting one of the awards.
“What a waste of light skin,” the famed comedian mocked. “Do you know what I could do with that light skin? That curly hair? My career would be out of here! I’d be running Hollywood.”
“What the hell was he thinking?” he asked.
“You’re ‘Jessie’ from now on,” Rock joked. “You don’t get the ‘u’ no more. That ‘u’ was respect. You ain’t getting no respect from me!”
The camera panned to the amused audience, notably including “The Daily Show” host Trevor Noah, who was completely unable to contain his laughter. Noah and the crew at “The Daily Show” also ripped Smollett, putting out a viral mock sketch of the alleged hate crime hoax soon after the “Empire” star was charged.
As noted by The Daily Wire’s Paul Bois, Smollett remained nominated for an NAACP Image Award despite his arrest.
“This is the fourth consecutive year Smollett has been nominated in the Image Awards’ Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series category,” reported USA Today. “He previously won in that category in 2017 and has also nabbed three different music-related Image Awards for his work on ‘Empire,’ according to IMDb.”
“Blackish” star Anthony Anderson, who hosted the award show, voiced his support for Smollett, both to win the award he was up for and on the actor’s legal front, citing his race.
“I hope he wins,” said Anderson. “I’m happy for him that the system worked for him in his favor because the system isn’t always fair, especially for people of color. So I’m glad it worked out for him.”
“It’s not my place or any other person’s place to judge him or what not, but I’m glad he’s nominated,” he continued. “I hope he wins because I’d be interested to hear his speech.”
Smollett did not win. The NAACP Image award for Best Supporting Actor went to “Grey’s Anatomy” star Jesse Williams.
On Tuesday morning, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office shockingly dropped all charges against Smollett. As noted by The Daily Wire’s Emily Zanotti, the actor was charged with 17 separate misdemeanor and felony counts for an allegedly fake hate crime report. Smollett said he was targeted for being gay and black by two Trump supporters in downtown Chicago after he left a Subway shop at around 2:30 a.m. at the end of January. The two men beat him, called him the “N” word and a “f*****,” told him he was “in MAGA (Make American Great Again) country now,” poured bleach on him, and tied a noose around his neck, he claimed.
However, the Chicago Police Department said the entire incident was orchestrated by Smollett, and the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office has stated that the actor has not been “exonerated” of any crime.