In the days since Will Smith slapped and cursed at Chris Rock at Sunday’s Oscar ceremony, many have expressed their distaste with what the former did to the latter. Among them was one of the night’s three hosts. Amy Schumer, who tried to milk jokes out of the incident shortly after it happened, said she’s “still triggered and traumatized” by it. Now another host not only agrees with her but shared a strange and endearing story about her run-in with Rock himself.
On Wednesday, Wanda Sykes appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. There, she discussed how she “felt so awful for my friend Chris.” (Sykes first gained recognition for her work as a writer on The Chris Rock Show in the ‘90s, even winning an Emmy.) She also told a story about running into him and finding him weirdly, if predictably self-deprecating about it:
“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.’ ”
Sykes added, “Because that’s who Chris is.”
The performer also took time to slam Smith for his behavior. “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 [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. 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.”
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, who puts on the Oscars, announced Wednesday that they’ve begun a formal investigation into the incident. They also claimed that after his attack, they asked Smith to leave but he “refused.”
You can watch Sykes’ Ellen appearance in the video above.