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Wanda Sykes Says She Was ‘Sickened’ by Will Smith Hitting Chris Rock

Wanda Sykes on 'The Ellen DeGeneres Show'
The Ellen DeGeneres Show/YouTube

Appearing on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, the out comic and cohost of the 2022 Academy Awards reflects on "that moment" at the Oscars and how Chris Rock apologized to her afterward.

Wanda Sykes was a guest on The Ellen DeGeneres Show on Wednesday, and she opened up about her experience and feelings over the incident that rocked this year's Academy Awards: Will Smith walking onstage and slapping Chris Rock over a joke at Smith's wife Jada Pinkett's expense. "I just felt so awful for my friend Chris," said Sykes, a lesbian comic and actress.

"It was sickening. It was absolutely -- I physically felt ill, and I'm still a little traumatized by it," Sykes said. "And for them to let [Smith] stay in that room and enjoy the rest of the show and accept his award, I was like, 'How gross is this?' This sends the wrong message. If you assault somebody, you get escorted out the building and that's it. But for them to let him continue, I thought it was gross."

Sykes added she feels that she and her cohosts, Regina Hall and Amy Schumer, are also owed an apology. "We were the hosts, right? So we were, this is our house, we're inviting you in, we're hosts, we're gonna take care of y'all tonight and make sure you have a good time. And no one has apologized to us," she explained. "We worked really hard to put that show together, so just the industry itself, I'm like, 'What the hell is this?'"

While Smith hasn't apologized to the show's hosts, he did offer a public apology to Rock on Instagram, writing, "Violence in all of its forms is poisonous and destructive. My behavior at last night's Academy Awards was unacceptable and inexcusable. Jokes at my expense are a part of the job, but a joke about Jada's medical condition was too much for me to bear and I reacted emotionally. I would like to publicly apologize to you, Chris. I was out of line and I was wrong. I am embarrassed and my actions were not indicative of the man I want to be. There is no place for violence in a world of love and kindness. I would also like to apologize to the Academy, the producers of the show, all the attendees, and everyone watching around the world. I would like to apologize to the Williams Family and my King Richard Family. I deeply regret that my behavior has stained what has been an otherwise gorgeous journey for all of us. I am a work in progress."

Sykes did receive one apology after the fact -- from Rock. "I hope he doesn't mind me saying this, but I saw Chris at [Guy Oseary's after-party] and as soon as I walked up to him, the first thing he said is, 'I'm so sorry.' I was like, 'Why are you apologizing?' He was like, 'It was supposed to be your night. You and Amy and Regina were doing such a great job. I'm so sorry this is now gonna be about this,'" she said, adding, "Because that's who Chris is."

Watch the full discussion below.

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