Oscars co-host Wanda Sykes slammed the Academy, calling their actions ‘gross’ for allowing Will Smith to remain in the theater Sunday night after he slapped Chris Rock, a display she said made her feel ‘physically ill.’
‘It was sickening,’ Sykes said in a televised interview on ‘The Ellen DeGeneres Show. ‘I felt physically ill and I’m still a little traumatized by it.’
Smith, 53, stunned the audience at Dolby Theatre and millions of television viewers at Sunday night’s Oscars when he marched onto the stage and slapped Rock, 57, after the comedian made a bald joke about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, who has spoken publicly about losing her hair due to alopecia.
When Smith returned to his seat, the ‘King Richard’ star yelled at Rock, ‘Keep my wife’s name out your (expletive) mouth.’
Less than an hour later, Smith won the Best Actor award for his portrayal of Richard Williams – father of tennis legends Serena and Venus.
Sykes told Ellen she was returning to the theater from her trailer when the slap happened. She said ‘when I got to the monitor backstage, I just saw Will leaving the stage, and everything was quiet. And I was like, ‘What happened, what happened?!'”
Sykes added that when she saw the video replay, she said it made her feel sick. And said she was shocked when Smith was allowed to stay in the theater to accept his Oscar and enjoy the rest of the show.
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Oscars co-host Wanda Sykes slammed the Academy for allowing Smith to remain in the theater Sunday after he slapped Chris Rock, a display she said made her feel ‘physically ill’
Sykes told Ellen she was returning to the theater from her trailer when the slap happened. She walked into a silent theater and had the same question others did, ‘what is happening’
Sykes told Ellen during the interview that Smith should have been removed from the building immediately after he slapped Rock.
‘For them to let him stay in that room and enjoy the rest of the show and accept his award…. I was like, ‘How gross is this?’ she said.
‘This is just the wrong message. You assault somebody, you get escorted out of the building, and that’s it.
‘But for them to let him continue, I thought it was gross. I wanted to be able run out after he won and say, ‘Unfortunately, Will couldn’t be here tonight…’
Smith issued a public apology to the Academy during his acceptance speech and then to Rock on Monday evening – saying that his behavior was ‘unacceptable and inexcusable’.
But Sykes, who made her hosting debut alongside Amy Schumer and Regina Hall Sunday night, said she knows Smith apologized to Rock, but pointed out, ‘No one has apologized to us.’
‘We worked really hard to put that show together — so I’m like, what the hell is this?,’ Sykes said.
We were the hosts, this is ‘our house,’ we’re re gonna take care of y’all tonight and no one has apologized to us,’ Sykes told DeGeneres. ‘And we worked really had to put that show together.’
But Sykes said she did receive an apology from the one person who she said did not owe her one. She explained that she ran into Rock at a party that night, and he told her ‘I’m so sorry!’ ‘
‘I was like, ‘Why are YOU apologizing?’ He was like, ‘It was supposed to be your night, you and Amy and Regina. And this is now going to be about this.’
Will Smith slapped Chris Rock on stage at the Oscars on Sunday, after the comedian made a joke about his wife Jada Pinkett Smith. On Monday, Smith apologized
Pictured: Chris Rock holds a hand to his face after he was slapped by Will Smith while presenting an award at Sunday night’s Oscars ceremony in Hollywood
Her comments come just hours after fellow co-host Amy Schumer weighed in on the incident, saying she is ‘still triggered and traumatized’ by the ‘disturbing’ moment.
In a post shared to her Instagram account in the early hours of Wednesday morning, Schumer, 40, said that she is still feeling the impact of the on-stage altercation.
‘Still triggered and traumatized,’ she wrote on Instagram early Wednesday. ‘I love my friend Chris Rock and believe he handled it like a pro. Stayed up there and gave an Oscar to his friend Questlove and the whole thing was so disturbing. So much pain in Will Smith… Anyway I’m still in shock and stunned and sad. Im proud of myself and my cohosts. But yeah. Waiting for this sickening feeling to go away from what we all witnessed.’
Schumer – who has been close friends with Rock for several years – tried to make a joke out of the incident, jokingly asking the audience if she had ‘missed anything’ and noting that ‘there’s, like, a different vibe in here’ when she returned to her hosting duties in the minutes after Smith slapped Rock on-stage.
Shocking: Oscars co-host Amy Schumer said she is ‘still triggered and traumatized’ after Will Smith stormed onto the stage and slapped Chris Rock on Sunday
Fury: Schumer, 40, wrote in a post to to plug her TV series, Life & Beth: ”But for real. Still triggered and traumatized. I love my friend @chrisrock and believe he handled it like a pro’
Co-hosts Regina Hall, Amy Schumer, and Wanda Sykes speak onstage during the 94th Annual Academy Awards at Dolby Theatre on Sunday
Smith’s expletive words echoed clearly throughout the Dolby, though broadcaster ABC cut the audio for about 15 seconds. Within 45 minutes, Smith won best actor. During his acceptance speech, Smith apologized to the academy.
Smith on Monday also issued an apology to Rock, saying his behavior was ‘unacceptable and inexcusable’ and left him ’embarrassed’.
‘I would like to publicly apologize to you, Chris. I was out of line and I was wrong. I am embarrassed and my actions were not indicative of the man I want to be. There is no place for violence in a world of love and kindness.’
Rock, who had not been seen until today, told the Los Angeles Police Department that he does not want to press charges. A source told TMZ on Monday that after the slapping incident, he went backstage to his dressing room and has not spoken to Smith.
But Smith could still face a misdemeanor charge for battery should Rock have a change of heart.
Will Smith had initially laughed at the Rock gag about Jada’s hair being short – a line of Demi Moore’s in GI Jane. His wife looked very unhappy and rolled her eyes
After smacking Rock, a now visibly fuming Smith returned to his seat and began repeatedly yelling: ‘Keep my wife’s name out of your f***ing mouth’. Lupita Nyong’o’ was among those baffled by what happened with many initially believing that an act so outrageous must be part of the show
The Academy plans to meet Wednesday night, where Smith’s fate could be decided.
A post-Oscars board meeting is always held to discuss the ceremony and address any concerns, but does not usually happen this soon, the Hollywood Reporter learned.
The decision to hold the meeting was made after the Academy met for an emergency call Monday night about the incident and released a statement announcing a launch of a formal review.
‘The Academy condemns the actions of Mr. Smith at last night’s show. We have officially started a formal review around the incident and will explore further action and consequences in accordance with our Bylaws, Standards of Conduct and California law.’
Smith sobs as he accepted his best actor award, and apologized for the violence – but did not say sorry to Chris Rock
In the letter leaked Tuesday night, signed by Academy president David Rubin and CEO Dawn Hudson, states that the ‘Academy’s Board of Governors will now make a determination on appropriate action for Mr. Smith.’
The group’s Board of Governors are also planning an emergency meeting Wednesday evening to discuss the incident and possible punishments.
Smith faces a range of outcomes, including forcing him to hand back his Oscar to the most severe punishment – suspension from the Academy – which would put Smith among the ranks of Harvey Weinstein and Bill Cosby, who were both expelled for sexual misconduct.
Rock hasn’t weighed in on whether the ‘King Richard’ actor should face any repercussions for the on-stage attack, and stayed tight-lipped while arriving in Boston this week ahead of a six-show slate at the Wilbur.
Ticket prices for Rock’s ‘Ego Death’ World Tour soared into the thousands as demand for seats spiked after Smith march on stage during the live show Sunday and smacked the stunned comedian across the face.
Chris Rock stayed tight lipped Tuesday when he was spotted in public for the first time since he was slapped by actor Will Smith on stage at the Oscars Sunday night when he made a joke about Smith’s wife Jada
Rock kept his head down under a ball cap as he arrived in Boston around 6 p.m. on Tuesday, ahead of his sold-out Wednesday show, and quickly got into a waiting vehicle.
Rock refused to answer any questions about Sunday’s slapdown.
Smith has publicly apologized to Rock for striking him, in one of the most shocking moments in awards show history – though Rock has yet to address the incident.
He has declined to press charges against Smith.