is firing back at critics of his former
Saturday Night Live
The comic defended Jones – who has recently fallen victim to both
racist Internet trolling
in which personal photos of her were leaked – on the Video Music Awards’ red carpet Sunday, telling
: “That is my friend, people need to leave her alone.”
Pharoah, 28, continued of the 48-year-old
star: “She is a sweet, funny, talented person, and she has been in the game since I was born. She started doing comedy when I was born – so that was ’87.”
Todd Williamson / Getty
Jones’ personal website was hacked last Wednesday, and and a slew of personal information, including her passport, driver’s license and various iCloud photos (some nudes), were leaked to her website, JustLeslie.com.
Though the website was quickly taken down after the leak, there has been no indication as to who hacked the site or the motive behind it.
Moving forward, Pharoah said Jones “deserves all of her success for real,” .
contract was not renewed
for the upcoming season of
, also recently said
remarked of his fellow cast members
at the VMAs: “I love them. They are my family.”