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Chris Rock defends Jimmy Fallon amid blackface scandal: "He didn’t mean anything"

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Douglas Gorenstein/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Image(NEW YORK) — Jimmy Fallon landed himself in hot water after a 20-year-old clip of him impersonating Chris Rock resurfaced online.  While critics have slammed the video for being an offensive example of blackface, the person Fallon was pretending to be has come to the night show host’s defense in a new interview.

Speaking with the New York Times, Rock opened up about the controversy and explained that he sees absolutely nothing wrong with the video.

“I’m friends with Jimmy. Jimmy’s a great guy. And he didn’t mean anything,” the Grown Ups star attested, saying that Fallon’s parody wasn’t intended to be malicious.

“A lot of people want to say intention doesn’t matter, but it does,” continued Rock. “I don’t think Jimmy Fallon intended to hurt me. And he didn’t.”

The comedian went onto explain why the controversy is an example of a deeper issue, which is cancel culture.

“There’s literally one answer that ends my whole career,” Rock said after being asked if he thinks that removing old TV shows or movies containing instances of blackface goes too far.  

“Blackface ain’t cool, okay? That’s my quote. Blackface is bad,” he answered. “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.”

Fallon impersonated Rock in 2000 for a skit on Saturday Night Live.  Following the clip going viral and drawing intense backlash, the late night host apologized in May, calling it “a terrible decision” and that “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,” he added.

By Megan Stone
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