Jada Pinkett Smith opens up about child protective services investigation after 2014 incident with Willow
Jada Pinkett Smith is not afraid of speaking her truth and does so regularly on the digital series Red Table Talk, which she co-hosts with her daughter, Willow Smith, and her mom, Adrienne Banfield-Jones. But in the latest episode where the three women prompted viewers to send in their questions and insisted that “no topic is off limits,” the family opened up about the fallout that they’ve faced as a result of rumors in the press — including a 2014 investigation by child protective services.
The conversation was sparked when a fan asked if Willow had ever felt the need to defend her famous parents from lies that were being spread about them in the news, and both the 19-year-old and Banfield-Jones unanimously answered, “yeah.”
“I felt like that all the time,” Banfield-Jones said. “I can just remember being very, very upset.”
She admitted that it was Jada who usually encouraged everyone to ignore the lies, until she eventually became “furious” with a rumor that affected her children.
“I think it started with that whole Moises thing,” Willow said, recalling a photo that was posted online of her at the age of 13 laying in bed with then-20-year-old actor Moisés Arias. “We took a picture and Moises had his shirt off.”
“The boys basically lived with us, so they’re like her brothers,” Jada explained of Moisés and his brother Mateo. “These boys are always in this house with their shirts off.”
And although Willow explained that “there was no sexual intonation in that picture whatsoever” she said that being a young black girl is what ultimately sparked aggressive backlash.
“I find that other celebrities, females who aren’t black, who are younger and who do post things that are way more sexual than that, they don’t get any backlash,” she explained. “That said a lot.”
Ultimately, it was that photo that led the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services to open an investigation on the Smith family and enter their home for interviews.
“I was looking at the lady, and the whole time I was thinking, you could be helping so many kids right now and you’re wasting your time with a child who has everything that they need.”
“My kids were like, ‘Whatever.’ That’s how they treated it,” Jada explained. “Her and Jaden both, and there was nothing Will and I could do. We were just like, please chill out. And they were like, ‘No. This is stupid and it’s ridiculous.’”
Jada went on to paint a picture of her children doing the “complete opposite” of what she asked of them while investigators were in their home. She even said that Willow walked into an interview with the investigators at 2:00 p.m. with a bowl of cereal, saying that it was her first meal of the day after people had accused Jada and Will of “starving” her.
Despite the negative publicity and impact on the family, Jada admitted “that was the moment that I feel like we really locked up together as a family.”
“The kids got to see for the first time why Will and I had been so protective, be careful who you talk to, be careful who you hang with, watch yourself because people try to hurt you,” she continued. “So I got to see the soldiers in them.”
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