Wanda Sykes Shares What Chris Rock Said To Her After Slap

Comedian and actor Wanda Sykes has revealed what Chris Rock said to her after Will Smith slapped him at the Oscars.

Sykes joined Regina Hall and Amy Schumer to host the Academy Awards on Sunday (27 March), and while there was a lot that happened throughout the lengthy show, it was Smith slapping Rock that caught the attention of pretty much everyone with internet access.

Rock is yet to speak publicly about the incident, which took place after he made a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith’s hair loss, but Sykes revealed the first thing he said to her afterwards when she appeared on The Ellen Show on Wednesday (30 March).

As the pair inevitably turned their conversation to the slap, Sykes said: «The first thing he said was: ‘I’m so sorry.'»

Sykes responded to ask Rock why he was apologising for getting hit across the face, to which Rock shared his fears the moment would overshadow the work of Sykes, Schumer and Hall.

«It was supposed to be your night. You and Amy and Regina, y’all were doing such a great job. I’m so sorry. This is now going to be about this,» Rock said, according to the actor.

DeGeneres praised the three women for their work hosting the Oscars, describing the opportunity as a ‘bucket list’ moment for which they all should be very ‘proud’.

«For something to happen like what happened with Will and Chris it takes away from so many things; it took away from Quest Love’s win on the documentary, it took away from the Williams family — we should say he has apologised.»

Smith returned to the stage shortly after hitting Rock to receive the award for Best Actor for his role in King Richard and used the opportunity to apologise to the Academy and his fellow nominees. He later took to Instagram to issue a direct apology to Rock.

Sykes told DeGeneres she was getting changed after introducing Rock to the stage to hand out the award for best documentary, and by the time she made it back to watch the events she’d actually missed the moment Will slapped Rock.

Will Smith slapped Chris Rock at the Oscars. Credit: Alamy
Will Smith slapped Chris Rock at the Oscars. Credit: Alamy

She described everything as being ‘quiet’ at the events, while those backstage were saying: «oh my God».

Sykes did witness Smith shouting at Rock from his seat, where he told him to ‘keep [his] wife’s name out of [his] mouth’. When she learned about the slap, Sykes described feeling ‘so awful’ for her friend.

«It was sickening… I physically felt ill, and I’m still a little traumatised by it,» Sykes said.

The actor also criticised the decision to allow Smith to stay in the audience and ‘enjoy the rest of the show’, describing it as ‘gross’ and ‘the wrong message’.

The Academy has since released a statement to clarify Smith ‘was asked to leave the ceremony and refused’.

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