Wanda Sykes on Smith slapping Rock: ‘It was sickening’

Mar 30, 2022, 2:01 AM | Updated: 2:33 pm
In this Tuesday, March 29, 2022, photo released by Warner Bros., Wanda Sykes is seen during a tapin...

In this Tuesday, March 29, 2022, photo released by Warner Bros., Wanda Sykes is seen during a taping of "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" at the Warner Bros. lot in Burbank, Calif. Fresh off hosting the 94th Academy Awards, Sykes made an appearance on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” on Tuesday to air Thursday, April 7. She talked about the confrontation between Will Smith and Chris Rock. (Michael Rozman/Warner Bros. via AP)

(Michael Rozman/Warner Bros. via AP)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Wanda Sykes said she felt physically ill after Will Smith slapped Chris Rock across the face at the Oscars, and she’s angry Smith was permitted to stay and collect his award.

Sykes, who co-hosted Sunday at the Dolby Theatre with Amy Schumer and Regina Hall, told Ellen DeGeneres in an interview to air April 7 that she missed the confrontation live as she walked between her trailer and the theater after a costume change.

“Then someone showed me on the video,” Sykes said, “and I just felt so awful for my friend, Chris. It was sickening. I physically felt ill, and I’m still a little traumatized by it.”

Smith, seated close to the stage during the awards show, walked up to Rock and slapped him after the comedian made a joke about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. After he walked back to his seat, Smith cursed twice at Rock to “keep my wife’s name out your (expletive) mouth.”

The room and millions watching live were stunned. Soon after, Smith won his first-ever Academy Award for playing tennis dad Richard Williams in “King Richard” and gave a tearful acceptance speech in which he apologized but not directly to Rock. That came later in a statement.

Sykes, in a video released of her interview by “The Ellen Show,” said letting Smith stay and accept his award should not have happened.

“I was like, how gross is this? This is the wrong message. You assault somebody and you get escorted out the building and that’s it. But for them to let him continue, I thought it was gross. I wanted to be able to run out (on stage) after he won and say, ‘Uh, unfortunately, Will couldn’t be here tonight.'”

Sykes said she caught up with Rock later at a party and he apologized to her.

“I’m like, ‘Why are you apologizing?’ And he was like, ‘It was supposed to be your night. You and Amy and Regina, you all were doing such a great job. I’m so sorry, this is now going to be about this.'”

Schumer, in a since-deleted Instagram post, said she was “triggered and traumatized” by what happened.

“I love my friend @chrisrock 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,” she wrote. “So much pain in @willsmith anyway I’m still in shock and stunned and sad.”

Schumer went on, “Im proud of myself and my cohosts. But yeah. Waiting for this sickening feeling to go away from what we all witnessed.”

Sykes had a question for the entertainment industry as a whole.

“We were the hosts. This is our house. We’re inviting you in. We’re hosting. We’re going to take care of you all tonight, make sure you have a good time, and no one has apologized to us,” she said. “We worked really hard to put that show together. Like the industry itself, what the hell is this?”

Hall has not spoken publicly about the confrontation, but others have.

Jim Carrey, who didn’t attend the Oscars, told Gayle King in a CBS interview Monday he was “sickened” when the crowd inside the Dolby gave Smith a standing ovation after he won his best actor award.

“I felt like Hollywood is just spineless en masse and it really felt like, oh, this is a really clear indication that we’re not the cool club anymore,” he said.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Associated Press

Much of drought-plagued West Coast faces salmon fishing ban

The surreal and desperate scramble boosted the survival rate of the hatchery-raised fish, but still it was not enough to reverse the declining stocks in the face of added challenges.
2 days ago
UCLA's Jaime Jaquez Jr. (24) shoots while defended by Gonzaga's Rasir Bolton (45) in the first half...
Associated Press

Gonzaga beats UCLA 79-76 in Sweet 16 on Strawther’s shot

Julian Strawther hit a 3-pointer with 6 seconds left to answer a 3-pointer by UCLA's Amari Bailey, lifting Gonzaga to a wild 79-76 NCAA Tournament win over UCLA Thursday night in the Sweet 16.
2 days ago
Associated Press

Officials: Safety device, human error derailed Wash. train

A safety device failed, knocking a train off the tracks last week, spilling diesel after leaving an oil refinery in Anacortes.
2 days ago
File - Credit cards as seen July 1, 2021, in Orlando, Fla. A low credit score can hurt your ability...
Associated Press

What the Fed rate increase means for your credit card bill

The Federal Reserve raised its key rate by another quarter point Wednesday, bringing it to the highest level in 15 years as part of an ongoing effort to ease inflation by making borrowing more expensive.
3 days ago
police lights distracted drivers shooting...
Associated Press

Authorities: Missing mom, daughter in Washington found dead

A missing Washington state woman and her daughter were found dead Wednesday, according to police.
3 days ago
Associated Press

Google’s artificially intelligent ‘Bard’ set for next stage

Google announced Tuesday it's allowing more people to interact with “ Bard,” the artificially intelligent chatbot the company is building to counter Microsoft's early lead in a pivotal battleground of technology.
4 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Emergency Preparedness...

Prepare for the next disaster at the Emergency Preparedness Conference

Being prepared before the next emergency arrives is key to preserving businesses and organizations of many kinds.
SHIBA volunteer...

Volunteer to help people understand their Medicare options!

If you’re retired or getting ready to retire and looking for new ways to stay active, becoming a SHIBA volunteer could be for you!
safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Wanda Sykes on Smith slapping Rock: ‘It was sickening’