Oscar co-hosts Amy Schumer and Wanda Sykes said Wednesday they were sickened by best actor Will Smith’s slap in the face of presenter Chris Rock during Sunday night’s ceremony. During the live broadcast of the Oscars, Smith took the stage after Rock made a joke about the appearance of Smith’s wife and then punched the comedian in the face. The actor then returned to his seat and twice yelled an obscenity at Rock.
Rock regained his composure and announced the winner for Best Documentary, Questlove’s “Summer of Soul.” “Still triggered and traumatized,” Schumer said in an Instagram post three days later. “I love my friend @chrisrock and I believe he came through this like a pro. He stayed up there and gave his friend @questlove an Oscar and the whole thing was so disturbing.
“So much pain to @willsmith anyway, I’m still in shock, bewildered and sad,” she added. “Waiting for this sickening feeling to go away from what we’ve all witnessed,” she said. Sykes also said the incident was “sickening” and that she felt physically ill at the time. “I’m still a little traumatized,” Sykes said in clips aired Wednesday from an interview on Ellen DeGeneres’ talk show.
Less than an hour after his attack on Rock, Smith won Best Actor for his role as the father of tennis legends Venus and Serena Williams in “King Richard.” He gave a tear-filled acceptance speech in which he apologized to the academy and his fellow nominees — but not Rock. Sykes said she felt Smith should have been escorted and not allowed to accept his award.
“For them to let him stay in that room and enjoy the rest of the show and accept his price, I was like how disgusting is that? That’s just the wrong message,” she said. The clash with Rock eclipsed the awards of the night, in which the heartwarming film “CODA” won Best Picture. Schumer and Sykes co-hosted the ceremony with Regina Hall.
Smith apologized to Rock and others in a statement Monday, saying he “reacted emotionally” to the joke about his wife, actor and talk show host Jada Pinkett Smith. Rock had referenced the 1997 film “GI Jane” in which actress Demi Moore shaved her head. It was unclear if Rock was aware that Pinkett Smith had a condition that causes hair loss.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has condemned Smith’s behavior and is considering whether to take action against him. If the group concludes that Smith has violated its conduct policy, it could expel him from the organization, revoke his Oscar, or render him ineligible for future awards.
In other recent cases, like that of disgraced producer Harvey Weinstein, the academy revoked his membership but failed to strip him of his Oscars.
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