Chris Rock was not offended by Jimmy Fallon’s impersonation of him back in 2000 when he donned blackface during a Saturday Night Live episode; in fact, the comedian defended him, saying that Fallon “didn’t mean anything” by it.
This past spring, the video of Fallon wearing blackface resurfaced, sparking widespread backlash over the sketch. However, he quickly apologized for his “offensive decision” via tweet. In June, he followed up with a more in-depth apology on an episode of The Tonight Show. “I’m not a racist. I don’t feel this way,” Fallon said on the show. “I realized that I can’t not say I’m horrified, and I’m sorry, and I’m embarrassed.”
But in an interview with the New York Times in the wake of the controversy, Rock did not seem concerned or offended. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
“Hey, man, I’m friends with Jimmy,” he said. “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.”
“If I say they are, then I’m the worst guy in the world. There’s literally one answer that ends my whole career. Blackface ain’t cool, okay? That’s my quote,” Rock said. “Blackface is bad. Who needs it? 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.”
Although Rock did acknowledge that Fallon’s impersonation was “bad comedy,” he told the Hollywood Reporter that Fallon “doesn’t have a racist bone in his body.”
And to prove there are no hard feelings, Rock will make an appearance on an upcoming Fallon show to promote the fourth season of Fargo, which premieres September 27.