Oscars co-host Wanda Sykes criticized the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for allowing Will Smith to stay in the theater after slapping presenter Chris Rock.
“It was sickening. I felt physically ill and I’m still a little traumatized by it,” Sykes said during an appearance he “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” on Wednesday.
Sykes, 58, slammed the Academy for ignoring its own code of conduct after Smith, 53, walked onstage and slapped Rock, 57, for joking about Jada Pinkett Smith’s hair loss.
When Smith returned to his seat, he yelled, “Keep my wife’s name out your f — ing mouth.” Smith then repeated the profanity as the entire theater sat in stunned silence.
Sykes, who watched The Slap on a monitor backstage, said it made her sick and she was shocked when Smith was allowed to stay in the theater to accept his Oscar and enjoy the rest of the show.
Insiders say Smith knew he had nothing to lose when he walked onstage to assault Rock because he was informed in advance that he’d won his first-ever Oscar.
Sykes said Smith should have been removed from the building by security 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?'”
The comedian said the Academy’s non-action sent the wrong message.
“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 to run out after he won and say “Unfortunately, I couldn’t be here tonight.”
Smith issued a public apology to Rock on Instagram 24 hours after The Slap.
Sykes said she knows that Smith apologized to Rock, but “No one has apologized to us,” referring to her co-hosts Amy Schumer (left) and Regina Hall (right).
“We worked really hard to put that show together – so I’m like, what the hell is this ?,” she said.
“We were the hosts, this is ‘our house,’ we’re gonna take care of y’all tonight and no one has apologized to us. And we worked really had to put that show together,” Sykes told DeGeneres.
Schumer also weighed in on the incident on social media, saying she was “triggered and traumatized” by The Slap.
“But for real. Still triggered and traumatized. I love my friend @chrisrock and believe he handled it like a pro,” she wrote.
Sykes revealed that Rock apologized to her at an afterparty later that night.
‘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.’ “
Rock was correct. The Slap received wall-to-wall coverage on every media outlet around the world – and it’s still trending on Twitter.
The incident overshadowed winners such as actor Samuel L. Jackson, who received an honorary Oscar at the Governors Awards on Friday, March 25. The award was presented to him by Denzel Washington.
“Thanks to every person who has ever bought a ticket to any movie I was in,” Samuel L. Jackson said.