CNN+ host Jemele Hill said Monday on CNN’s “The Lead” that black women were “encouraged” by actor Will Smith slapping comedian Chris Rock at Sunday’s Oscars because Smith was protecting his wife after they just saw Biden SCOTUS nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson “lambasted in the public eye” during her confirmation hearings.

Tapper said, “Congresswoman Pressley, who I believe also suffers from alopecia. She immediately posted and then deleted something that said, ‘Thank you, Will Smith. Shout out to the husbands who defend their wives living with alopecia in the face of daily ignorance and insults.’ She since deleted the tweet and talked about the importance of nonviolence, and she doesn’t advocate violence. Again, nobody is saying that it was okay to slap Chris Rock in the face. Nobody is saying that. But obviously, for Congresswoman Pressley, she has spent years being mocked and derided she felt for Jada Pinkett Smith.”

Hill said, “Not only that, Jake, you have to actually understand this on an even deeper level than that. For black women, we watched confirmation hearings with Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, right? We saw everything that she went through, saw how she was really lambasted in the public eye. And we saw all the things she had to deal with, and she was often lauded for keeping cool and collected. Sometimes when things happen, people don’t feel that way. For black women, in particular, I saw Tiffany Haddish as well, where she felt very encouraged, if you will, by the fact Will Smith, in this very public setting, was standing up for his black wife. That’s a protection black women often aren’t afforded. Like you said, it was obviously wrong. Chris Rock shouldn’t have told the joke. Will Smith’s response can’t be to go up and slap another man in public at the Oscars.”

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