Wanda Sykes Felt Physically "Ill" Watching Will Smith Slap Chris Rock and Curse at Him

The Oscars host described feeling "traumatized" by it.

2022 Vanity Fair Oscar Party Hosted By Radhika Jones - Arrivals
(Image credit: Getty/Dimitrios Kambouris)

Wanda Sykes, Amy Schumer and Regina Hall had the somewhat horrifying job of hosting the Oscars on Sunday night—where people's accomplishments were completely overshadowed by the one moment Will Smith strode on stage to slap Chris Rock over a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith.


(Image credit: Getty/ROBYN BECK)

Appearing on The Ellen Show, Sykes described going back to her trailer to change into pajamas for a skit and missing the slap, but seeing everyone shocked backstage, then witnessing Smith shout to Rock twice, "keep my wife's name out of your f***ing mouth" from his seat. She didn't mince her words commenting on the situation.

"I just felt so awful for my friend, Chris," the comedian said. "It was sickening. It was absolutely... I physically felt ill, and I'm still a little traumatized by it."

She added, "and 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? This is just the wrong message.' You know, you assault somebody, you get escorted out the building, and that's it, you know. But for them to let him continue, I thought it was gross."

The Academy said in a statement that they asked Smith to leave, but he didn't comply.

Lightening the mood a little, Sykes then quipped, "Plus I wanted to be able to run out, you know, after he won and say, 'uhh, unfortunately Will couldn't be here tonight...'"

Sykes added, "I know he apologized to Chris, but I believe that, you know, we were the hosts, right, so we were the... 'this is our house, we're inviting you in, we're gonna take care of y'all tonight. Make sure you have a good time.' And no one has apologized to us. And we worked really hard to put that show together. ... I'm just like, the industry itself, I'm like, 'what the hell is this?'"

Iris Goldsztajn
Morning Editor

Iris Goldsztajn is a London-based journalist, editor and author. She is the morning editor at Marie Claire, and her work has appeared in the likes of British Vogue, InStyle, Cosmopolitan, Refinery29 and SELF. Iris writes about everything from celebrity news and relationship advice to the pitfalls of diet culture and the joys of exercise. She has many opinions on Harry Styles, and can typically be found eating her body weight in cheap chocolate.