Oprah Winfrey has conducted many high-profile celebrity interviews, such as her conversation with Meghan Markle during her move to Los Angeles alongside Prince Harry, and an interview with Lindsay Lohan during her struggles with drug and alcohol addiction.
However, despite her reputation for landing big interviews, Winfrey was unable to secure an interview with Chris Rock after his altercation with Will Smith at the 2022 Oscars. The reason for this is not specified.
Oprah Winfrey Wanted To Interview Chris Rock After The Oscars Slap
Shortly after the altercation, The Sun reported that Rock was ready to do an interview with Winfrey. “Chris has handled the situation with Will with such grace and poise – and it is paying dividends,” a source said per The News.
“Hollywood just can’t get enough of him and while people are turning away from Will in droves, they’re queuing up to see Chris. His comedy tour is now sold out for months in advance and he has added more dates on thanks to the increase in demand.”
The insider added that there were ongoing negotiations for Rock’s first chat about the incident. “Chris has chosen to hold his tongue for now and it’s not surprising, as there are big money negotiations going on behind the scenes for his first chat,” they said.
“Oprah and Ellen have both shown interest in securing the first sit down interview with Chris about the slap and the aftermath.”
Winfrey has previously interviewed Rock back in 2002. At that time, Rock reminisced about his start in comedy, as well as his life before fame. “When I was about 6, I said to myself, ‘Wait a minute—I’m dead serious, and everyone else is cracking up,'” he said of discovering his knack for making people laugh. “I thought, ‘I’ve got something here. Let me learn how to work it.'”
Why Chris Rock Declined Oprah Interview After Oscars Slap
In September 2022, it was reported that Rock had declined to do a sit-down interview with Winfrey. An audience member at the Everybody Hates Chris star’s show at the Arizona Financial Theatre told Entertainment Tonight that the comedian announced it onstage and that he won’t be “crying” about the incident during interviews.
“During the evening, he did describe that he declined an offer to go onto Oprah to do to a sit-down interview and even a Super Bowl commercial with Will Smith himself,” said the witness.
“He said, ‘You are not gonna see me on any interviews crying my heart out about this. I am not going to be a victim,'” they continued. “I think we were all wondering if he was going to talk about that incident or not.” Arizona Republic also shared that during his performance, Rock revealed that he was asked to host the 2023 Oscars. He said he rejected the offer because it would be like returning to a crime scene.
He even compared it to the murder of O.J. Simpson’s ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson. He said that hosting the Oscars would be like asking the latter “to go back to the restaurant” where she had her last meal before being stabbed to death. Aside from that, Rock had also turned down other gigs following the incident, including a Super Bowl commercial.
Inside Will Smith & Chris Rock’s Relationship After Oscars Slap
After the slapping incident, Smith took to Instagram to apologize to Rock. “Violence in all of its forms is poisonous and destructive. My behavior at last night’s Academy Awards was unacceptable and inexcusable,” he wrote.
“Jokes at my expense are a part of the job, but a joke about Jada’s medical condition was too much for me to bear and I reacted emotionally. I would like to publicly apologize to you, Chris. I was out of line and I was wrong. I am embarrassed and my actions were not indicative of the man I want to be.”
He added: “There is no place for violence in a world of love and kindness. I would also like to apologize to the Academy, the producers of the show, all the attendees and everyone watching around the world. I would like to apologize to the Williams Family and my King Richard Family. I deeply regret that my behavior has stained what has been an otherwise gorgeous journey for all of us […] I am a work in progress.”
According to reports, Rock hasn’t spoken to Smith since the Oscars. However, he addressed his apology a few times. In September 2022, during his U.K. tour with Dave Chappelle, he allegedly described Smith as “just as ugly as the rest of us.”
When Chappelle asked him if the smack hurt, he said: “Goddamn right … the mother f—hit me over a bulls—t joke, the nicest joke I ever told,” adding that “Will did the impression of a perfect person for 30 years, and he ripped his mask off. … Whatever the consequences are … I hope he doesn’t put his mask back on again and lets his real face breathe. I see myself in both men.”