Last night, Chris Rock was called upon to present the award for Outstanding Comedy Series at the 50th Annual NAACP Image Awards. And though he was explicitly asked to refrain from discussing Jussie Smollett — nominated for Best Supporting Actor in a Drama — the comedian couldn’t help but get in some licks. Especially when Smollett declined to make an appearance at the ceremony.
Before announcing the winner of the award, Rock scanned the crowd and exclaimed, “They said, ‘No Jussie Smollett jokes.'” Rock went on, “What a waste of light skin. Do you know what I could do with that light skin? That curly hair? My career would be out of here! I’d be fucking running Hollywood.” He capped off the brief rant with “What the hell was he thinking? You’re ‘Jessie’ from now on. You don’t get the ‘u’ no more. That ‘u’ was respect. You ain’t getting no respect from me.” It wasn’t the last time Smollett’s name came up during the broadcast. Upon receiving the award for Outstanding Comedy Series, Black-ish star, Yara Shahidi, proclaimed her support for the controversial Empire actor.
Earlier this week, Smollett was cleared of 16 disorderly conduct charges stemming from his alleged staging of a racial and homophobic attack.
Watch Chris Rock blast Smollett in a clip from last night’s broadcast below.
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