Nicole Brown Simpson's Sister Slams Chris Rock for 'Distasteful' Joke

Chris Rock's joke about Nicole Brown Simpson is being slammed as "distasteful" by the sister of the late ex-wife of O.J. Simpson. During a set in Pheonix, the comedian explained why he turned down a hosting gig at the 2023 Oscars with a joke about Brown Simpson. Referencing being slapped by Will Smith at this year's Academy Awards, Rock said that going back to host again would be like asking Brown Simpson to "go back to the restaurant" where she left her glasses before being killed.

Brown Simpson's sister, Tanya Brown, told TMZ that the reference "wasn't just unfunny, it literally doesn't make sense" and noted that there was no comparison to be made between the Oscars and the murder of her sister. Brown said Rock's attempt at making a joke was "distasteful to say the least" and "offensive" to the family, pointing out that "this type of stuff hits close to home and hurts people." She added that comedians should be held accountable for the things they say.

Rock's joke about Jada Pinkett Smith appearing in a G.I. Jane sequel amid her alopecia diagnosis prompted the actress' husband to take the stage in the middle of the 2022 Oscars and slap him across the face. Smith apologized to Rock earlier this month in a YouTube video but said he had heard back from Rock's camp that he was "not ready to talk" with the King Richard actor at this point. 

"I've reached out to Chris and the message that came back is he's not ready to talk, and when he is, he will reach out," Smith said in the video. "So I will say to you, Chris, I apologize to you. My behavior was unacceptable and I'm here whenever you're ready to talk." He continued tearfully, "There is no part of me that thinks that was the right way to behave in that moment. There's no part of me that thinks that's the optimal way to handle a feeling of disrespect or insults."

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In the aftermath of the slap, Smith resigned from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and shared a public apology. The Academy's board of governors has since voted to ban Smith from returning to the Oscars or attending any other Academy events for the next 10 years.