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Oscars co-host Wanda Sykes says Chris Rock apologised to her after Oscars slap

Wanda Sykes (Derek Wood/PA)
Wanda Sykes (Derek Wood/PA)

Oscars co-host Wanda Sykes has said that Chris Rock apologised to her after being slapped by Will Smith on stage.

The American stand-up and actress, 58, said she was “still traumatised” and felt disappointed by the way the show had handled the “sickening” incident.

The annual ceremony was thrown into chaos when Smith, 53, stormed the stage and slapped Rock in front of the star-studded audience, after the comic made a joke about his wife Jada Pinkett Smith and her hair loss.

Appearing on the Ellen DeGeneres Show, Sykes said Rock had approached her to apologise about the incident because he knew it would overshadow her plaudits for presenting alongside Amy Schumer and Regina Hall.

Speaking to the host, she said: “I just felt so awful for my friend Chris. It was sickening, absolutely sickening. I physically felt ill and I’m still a little traumatised by it.

“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 assault somebody, you get escorted out the building and that’s it. But for them to let him continue, I thought was gross.”

Jokingly, she added: “Because I wanted to be able to run out after he won and say, ‘Unfortunately Will couldn’t be here tonight…’

Smith, who shortly after the altercation won the leading actor Oscar for King Richard, has issued a public apology to Rock, while Pinkett Smith posted a picture on Instagram reading: “This is a season for healing and I’m here for it.”

However, Sykes said she was yet to receive an apology from Smith.

“I know he apologised to Chris but I believe that we were the hosts,” she said.

“So this is our house, we are inviting you in, we are going to take care of you all tonight, make sure you have a good time.

“And no-one has apologised to us, and we worked really hard to put that show together.

“The industry itself, I’m like, ‘What the hell is this?’

“I hope he doesn’t mind me saying this, but I saw Chris (after the awards) and as soon as I walked up to him the first thing he said was, ‘I’m so sorry’ and I’m like, ‘Why are you apologising?’

“He was like, ‘It was supposed to be your night – you, Amy and Regina, you were all doing such a great job. I’m so sorry this is now going to be about this’. Because that is who Chris is.”

Her co-host Schumer previously said she was “still triggered and traumatised” by the incident, adding in a now-deleted Instagram post: “I love my friend @chrisrock and believe he handled it like a pro.”

Oscars showrunner Will Packer has described the altercation as “a very painful moment for me”, while the Academy has launched a formal review into the incident.

A “full meeting” of the Academy’s board of governors has been called for Wednesday , according to The Hollywood Reporter, who say the incident will be “topic number one”.

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