Leslie Jones Speaks Out On ‘Saturday Night Live’ Exit

Leslie Jones arrives at the 70th Emmy Awards on September 17, 2018 in Los Angeles, California.
Matt Winkelmeyer / Getty Images

Leslie Jones has spoken out on her exit from Saturday Night Live one week after it was rumored that the Emmy-nominated comedienne would be leaving the long-running sketch comedy show after five years as a featured player.

In a lengthy statement released September 3 on Twitter, Jones confirmed the rumors were true.

“Yes it’s true I am leaving Saturday Night Live. I cannot thank NBC, the producers, writers, and amazing crew enough for making SNL my second home these last five years. Lorne Michaels, you’ve changed my life in so many ways!” she said. “Thank you for being my mentor and confidant and for always having my back. You not only have my loyalty but you have my heart too! You have shown me skills I never imagined I had. I leave a better performer because of you.”

She then thanked all of her cast members, including Kenan Thompson, Cecily Strong, Kate McKinnon, and Colin Jost. She credited Thompson for helping her “hold it down,” Strong for making her laugh at herself, McKinnon’s kindness and generosity and her feigned love interest on the series, Jost, calling him a “porcelain-skinned Ken doll.”

Jones then thanked her fans and added that she hoped they would be excited about her upcoming projects and adventures, ending her lengthy statement with “#iamnotdeadjustgraduating.”

The Inquisitr previously reported that Jones would be exiting the series.

During her time on the series, Jones hosted the 2017 BET Awards and contributed to NBC Sports’ coverage of the 2016 and 2018 Olympic Games in Rio and Pyeongchang, reported Page Six.

The Ghostbuster star will star alongside Eddie Murphy, who is hosting SNL for the first time in 35 years, in the new film Coming 2 America, the sequel to the 1980s hit film starring Murphy, Coming to America.

Since joining the cast of Saturday Night Live in 2014, Jones has been Emmy-nominated two times in both 2017 and 2018. She was also nominated this year for co-writing the music video “Upper East Side,” for Season 44.

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Jones’ debut on the series was unique in that she was the oldest cast member at the age of 45, ever hired to the series, who generally hired younger comics and writers for the show. This occurred after the show was looking to add an African-American woman to its ensemble. After an audition for the series in 2013, Jones was offered a writing position instead of a featured, role which would go to Sasheer Zamata. She was offered a primary role in front of the cameras one year later in 2014.

Saturday Night Live will debut Season 45 on Sept. 28 with host Woody Harrelson and Billie Eilish as musical guest.