Chris Rock has stood up for Jimmy Fallon, who came under fire for a blackface impersonation he did of the comedian. Fallon faced public scrutiny earlier this year after a video clip of a 2000 "Saturday Night Live" skit in which he wore blackface and pretended to be Rock resurfaced on social media. Rock is now defending Fallon for his impersonation.
"I’m friends with Jimmy," Rock said in an interview with The New York Times. "Jimmy’s a great guy. And he didn’t mean anything. A lot of people want to say intention doesn’t matter, but it does. And I don’t think Jimmy Fallon intended to hurt me. And he didn’t."
During the interview, Rock also reluctantly discussed the push for the removal of blackface from movies and TV shows in which it had already appeared.
"If I say [they’ve gone too far], then I’m the worst guy in the world," Rock said. "There’s literally one answer that ends my whole career. Blackface ain’t cool, OK? That’s my quote. Blackface is bad. Who needs it?"
The actor was disappointed that people even had to point out that the practice was wrong when it should be a given.
"It’s so sad, we live in a world now where you have to say, I am so against cancer. 'I just assumed you liked cancer.' No, no, no, I am so against it. You have to state so many obvious things you’re against," he said.
Fallon issued an apology for his blackface impersonation of Rock earlier this year.
"While on SNL, I made a terrible decision to do an impersonation of Chris Rock while in blackface," he wrote in a tweet. "There is no excuse for this. I am very sorry for making this unquestionably offensive decision and thank all of you for holding me accountable."
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