When rumors surfaced last week that Kylie Jenner’s longtime best friend Jordyn Woods allegedly slept with Khloe Kardashian’s partner (and father to her daughter) Tristan Thompson, shit truly, truly hit the fan. The couple reportedly broke up, and the Kardashians have distanced themselves from her, leaving the cyberbullies to call her every variation of home-wrecker they could dream up. Woods has been largely silent amidst the chaos—but on Friday, she attempted to turn the ship around on Jada Pinkett Smith’s extremely pure and often cathartic Facebook show Red Table Talk.
Woods has known the Smith family since she was young: Her dad, John Woods, met Will Smith working as a sound engineer on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. And her friendship with Jaden Smith is how she started running with Kylie Jenner and the Kardashian clan. The majority of the conversation was focused on Woods addressing the rumors and denying having sex with Thompson, though she did admit to partying at his house and leaving in the AM. She also claimed that the Cleveland Cavaliers' power forward and known cheater unexpectedly kissed her on the lips as she left his house. Kardashian responded on Twitter, placing the blame of her family breaking up on Woods, and her mentions have been in shambles because of it.
While the back and forth around this whole drama has been plentiful, and for the gossip lovers incredibly juicy, the most memorable moment in the interview came when Woods explained why she wanted to come on the show.
“[The media is] putting their focus on a young black woman who made a mistake, and not a mistake that’s worth public crucifixion. It’s a mistake that should’ve been dealt with privately,” Woods said. Pinkett Smith added her two cents on the matter, coming from a place of experience as a black woman in the entertainment industry. “Being a black woman in the game for so long as I’ve been, just seeing that without people having heard your side, or given you the benefit of the doubt, it seems like it’s so easy to just target black women, put everything on us, even if there’s other people involved,” she said, adding that this reality is what prompted her and her husband to support Woods and give her a platform to tell her truth.
One calls to mind Janet Jackson and the harassment she dealt with after the infamous Super Bowl wardrobe malfunction, while Justin Timberlake threw her under the bus, or the fallout from Azealia Banks reporting Russell Crowe to the police for battery in 2016. After being called a liar and fielding a barrage of attacks, the incident was finally confirmed by Wu Tang's RZA (who himself had claimed Banks was lying). As Pinkett Smith voiced during the interview, "Well, you know what they say: Black women can be the most disregarded and disrespected creatures on Earth."
The fallback from what Woods repeatedly calls a mistake has been traumatizing for her and her family, she said. Outside of the cyberbullying, which she says has escalated to commenters saying her father deserved to die, Woods opened up about the fear for her family’s safety: “My brother can’t go to work. My sister can’t go to school, she’s 12. My mom can’t go to the grocery store.”
By the end of Woods’ conversation at the Red Table, the point of the episode was not so much to absolve her of all responsibility, but to say that black women, like anyone else, should be allowed to make mistakes without being dragged through the mud. As the internet has been quick to point out, Kardashian has been not only on the receiving end of unfair criticism but has also allegedly committed some acts against girl code herself. “I may have done something wrong but whatever I did I don’t think I deserve this,” Woods said. “It’s not fair.”
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This article originally appeared on VICE US.