Wanda Sykes says Chris Rock apologized to her over Will Smith Oscars slap: ‘It was supposed to be your night’

'It was supposed to be your night,' Sykes said Rock told her during an Oscars after-party.

Loading the player...

Wanda Sykes, co-host of the 94th Oscars, has spoken publicly for the first time about Will Smith slapping Chris Rock during the ceremony. Sykes stated that Rock apologized to her over the incident later that evening.

The 58-year-old comic/actress spoke about the Oscars during an appearance on Wednesday’s episode of The Ellen DeGeneres Show. Sykes told DeGeneres about an exchange she had with Rock, her longtime friend and collaborator, following the show.

“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,'” Sykes said. “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.'”

Smith approached the stage and slapped Rock in the face after Rock made a joke about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, prior to presenting the Best Documentary Feature award. After striking Rock, Smith went back to his seat and yelled at Rock twice, “Keep my wife’s name out your f—– mouth!”

Sykes says she didn’t see the slap when it happened. After introducing Rock she darted to her trailer to change before returning to catch him finish presenting the award.

She said by the time she returned to the backstage area, all she saw on a monitor was Smith returning to his seat and then cursing at Rock.

“I was, like, ‘is this really happening?'” Sykes said about the aftermath of the slap. After someone showed her the footage of Smith hitting RocK, she said, “I just felt so awful for my friend Chris. It was sickening. I physically felt ill, and I’m still a little traumatized about it.”

will smith slap thegrio.com
Will Smith, right, hits presenter Chris Rock on stage while at the Oscars on Sunday, March 27, 2022, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

Skyes condemned the Academy for allowing Smith to remain at the ceremony, where he would later win the Best Actor award for his role in King Richard.

“And for them to let [Will] 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,” Sykes continued. “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.”

Smith apologized to Rock and the Academy on Monday, via a statement on his Instagram page. “I would like to publicly apologize to you, Chris,” Smith wrote. “I was out of line and I was wrong.”

Rock declined to press charges against the King Richard actor and has yet to publicly address the incident.

TheGrio is now on your TV via Apple TV, Amazon Fire, Roku, and Android TV. Also, please download theGrio mobile apps today!

Loading the player...