Reliving Sunday’s drama. Wanda Sykes, who cohosted the 94th annual Academy Awards, opened up about her perspective on Chris Rock and Will Smith’s onstage confrontation.
“We [fellow host Regina Hall and I] had finished the bit and I guess I was about to change to get into PJs but then, I was like, ‘Oh,’ because we had just introduced Chris from our bit,” Sykes, 58, recalled during a Wednesday, March 30, appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. “So, I ran to my trailer because I wanted to watch him. I was getting changed and watching him, and then, from the moment that I went from the trailer — because I wanted to be in the house to watch — to the moment I got to the monitor, I just saw Will leaving the stage and everything was quiet.”
The Monster-in-Law actress, who explained that she was confused at the events she had missed, saw Smith, 53, “start cursing from his seat.”
She continued: “I was just like, ‘What? Is this really happening?’ … I just felt so awful for my friend Chris, and it was sickening; it was absolutely sickening. I physically felt ill and I’m still a little traumatized by it.”
During the Sunday, March 27, ceremony, the 57-year-old Saturday Night Live alum joked that Jada Pinkett Smith would be a perfect fit for a potential G.I. Jane sequel due to her shaved head. The 50-year-old Maryland native — who wed the King Richard star in December 1997 — rolled her eyes at the joke, prompting her husband to walk up on stage and slap Rock.
“Keep my wife’s name out your f—king mouth,” the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air alum yelled at the time. (Smith has since apologized for his actions while Rock has yet to publicly respond.)
Following the incident, Smith earned the coveted Lead Actor trophy for his role as Richard Williams in King Richard.
“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,” Sykes told Ellen DeGeneres. “[If] you assault someone, you get escorted out of the building and that’s it. But for them to let him continue, I thought it was gross.”
Sykes — who cohosted the ceremony alongside Hall, 51, and Amy Schumer — noted that she wanted to run out on stage after he won, telling the crowd, “Unfortunately, Will couldn’t be here tonight.” As one of the hosts, the comedian claimed that no one has apologized to her following the incident.
“We worked really hard to put that show together,” Sykes said. “So, I’m, like, the industry itself, I’m like, ‘What the hell is this?’”
The Upshaws star added that she saw Rock after the show, noting that he apologized to her, claiming that it was supposed to be “your night.”
The Trainwreck actress, 40, was equally shocked by the turn of Sunday’s events.
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“I think we can all agree that the best way to unpack what happened is to stream my series @lifeandbethhulu and see me on tour this fall,” Schumer wrote via Instagram on Wednesday. “But for real. Still triggered and traumatized. … 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. So much pain in @willsmith anyway I’m still in shock and stunned and sad.”
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