Oscars host Wanda Sykes reacts to Will Smith hitting Chris Rock: 'It was sickening'

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·Writer, Yahoo Entertainment
·2 min read
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Wanda Sykes recounts her version of events from Oscars Sunday when Will Smith hit Chris Rock
Wanda Sykes recounts her version of events from Oscars Sunday when Will Smith hit Chris Rock. (Photos: Getty Images)

Oscars host Wanda Sykes weighed in on Will Smith slapping Chris Rock, saying she thought it was "gross" the actor was allowed to stay in the room and collect his award after the slap. Sykes, who co-hosted with Amy Schumer and Regina Hall, also revealed what Rock told her shortly after the incident.

Sykes stopped by The Ellen DeGeneres Show and recounted her version of events on Sunday. By the time she got backstage to watch Rock hand out the Oscar for Best Documentary, she saw Smith leaving the stage. Then, she heard the King Richard star yell profanities from his seat.

"Is this really happening?" Sykes thought. "I just felt so awful for my friend, Chris. It was sickening. It was absolutely — I physically felt ill and I'm still a little traumatized by it."

"Me too," DeGeneres said. "Me too."

"And for [the Academy] 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? This is just the wrong message. You assault somebody, you get escorted out the building," Sykes continued. "For them to let him continue, I thought it was gross."

The Academy is conducting a "formal review" of the incident.

Sykes believes she and her fellow co-hosts are all owed apologies. There's only one person who has done that thus far and it wasn't Smith, who publicly apologized to Rock, but apparently did not apologize in private.

"I know he apologized to Chris, but I believe that, you know, we were the hosts, right? This is our house, we invited you in... no one has apologized to us and we worked really hard to put that show together," Sykes said. The whole thing has left a bad taste in her mouth. "The industry itself, I'm like what the hell is this?"

DeGeneres, who's hosted the Oscars twice, agreed: "It's not an example to set. You don't let someone do something like that, and get away with it and be rewarded."

Sykes saw Rock at an Oscars after-party and he immediately apologized. "The first thing he said was, 'I am so sorry... It was supposed to be your night." The comedian knew the slap is all anyone would be talking about.

Sykes isn't the only one traumatized by the evening. Schumer revealed on social media she is still "triggered" by what happened.