While performing at Atlanta’s Fox Theater as part of his “Ego Death World Tour,” Rock compared Smith to the former Death Row Records co-founder, Marion “Suge” Knight, who is currently serving a 28-year prison sentence after pleading no contest to voluntary manslaughter in 2018 following a fatal confrontation in Los Angeles in 2015.
“Everybody is trying to be a f—ing victim,” Rock said, via People magazine. “If everybody claims to be a victim, then nobody will hear the real victims. Even me getting smacked by Suge Smith … I went to work the next day, I got kids.”
During the peak of his career in the ‘90s, Knight was known for putting West Coast rap on the map with the massive success of Dr. Dre’s “The Chronic” followed by Snoop Dogg’s “Doggystyle” in 1993. Shortly after, he helped broker a deal to secure Tupac Shakur’s release from prison and subsequent signing to the label, with his “All Eyez on Me” released in 1996.
“Anyone who says words hurt has never been punched in the face,” he added, words he’s echoed in a previous show while touring recently with Kevin Hart on “Only Headliners Allowed.”
Knight was known for music just as much as he was for his temper, and was allegedly the ring leader in a string of violent deals. Shakur was in Knight’s car when he was killed in a drive-by attack in Las Vegas in September 1996. A similar drive-by shooting killed Shakur’s East Coast rival, The Notorious B.I.G. in March 1997, with Knight assumed to be the prime suspect. Knight had felony convictions for armed robbery and assault, and lost control of the label when it was forced into bankruptcy in 2009.
“I’m not a victim. Yeah, that s— hurt, motherf—er. But, I shook that s— off and went to work the next day. I don’t go to the hospital for a paper cut,” Rock reportedly told the crowd in New Jersey last week, via Us Weekly.
Smith shared a video on YouTube answering everyone’s most asked questions, including why he did not apologize to Rock during his acceptance speech. After Smith walked up on stage and slapped Rock for telling a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith, he went on to win Best Actor for his role in “King Richard.”
“I was fogged out by that point,” Smith admitted about the lack of an immediate apology to Rock. “It’s all fuzzy.”
The “Gemini Man” actor revealed he has reached out to Rock to talk about the incident, but claimed the comedian is not ready to sit down with him. He also spent the 5-minute-long video apologizing to Rock and others – including Rose Rock.
“I want to apologize to Chris’ mother,” said Smith. “I saw an interview that Chris’ mother did and, you know, that was one of the things about that moment. I just didn’t realize and, you know, I wasn’t thinking, but how many people got hurt in that moment,” the actor explained.
Rose initially said the following the slap: “When Will slapped Chris, he slapped all of us, but he really slapped me.”
“So I want to apologize to Chris’ mother,” Smith continued. “I want to apologize to Chris’ family. Specifically, Tony Rock [Chris’ younger brother]. You know, we had a great relationship. Tony Rock was my man. And this is probably irreparable.”
Rock had made a joke about “G.I. Jane” and referenced Jada’s bald head. Pinkett Smith had previously discussed her struggles with alopecia, an autoimmune disorder that causes hair loss.
Days later, the “Independence Day” star announced his resignation from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in a statement provided to Fox News Digital, saying he had “betrayed the trust of the Academy.”
“I have directly responded to the academy’s disciplinary hearing notice, and I will fully accept any and all consequences for my conduct,” he said.
Following his resignation, which was accepted by the Academy, Smith was banned for 10 years from attending Oscars events and shows.
Fox News’ Lauryn Overhultz contributed to this report.