Sykes, 58, shares that she was in the process of a wardrobe change after introducing Rock to present the award for Best Documentary and missed the actual slap. The comedian says that when she finally made it back to the house, she saw Smith screaming at Rock from his seat.
However, when she saw it, she was just as stunned as everyone else. “I just was like, ‘Is this really happening,’ and then someone showed me on the video like, ‘Yeah, he smacked Chris,’” she tells Ellen DeGeneres
“And I just felt so awful for my friend, Chris, and it was sickening, absolutely,” she adds.
"I physically felt ill and I’m still a little traumatized 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 just like, ‘How gross is this?’ It just sends the wrong message. You assault somebody, you get escorted out of the building, that’s it.”
She continues, “But for them to let him continue, I thought it was gross.”
For Sykes, the moment that Smith took the stage and accepted his award, took away a chance for her to do her own bit.
“And plus, I wanted to be able to run out after he won and say, “Uh, unfortunately, Will couldn’t be here tonight,’” she quips.
Smith, who won for Best Actor shortly after the incident, took the stage to accept his award. While the 53-year-old was onstage, he apologized to the Academy during his acceptance speech, but not to Rock. On Monday, Smith later apologized to Rock via Instagram.
Sykes notes, that she, Schumer and Hall have yet to hear from Smith. “I know he apologized to Chris, but I believe, we were the hosts, this is our house, we’re inviting you in, we’re gonna take care of y'all tonight, we’re gonna have a good time,” she says. “And no one has apologized to us, and we worked really hard to put that show together. The industry itself, I’m like, 'What the hell is this? This is wrong.'”
Sykes mentions that she did run into Rock at an Oscars after-party and he extended an apology for her big moment being overshadowed.
“I also want to say this. I saw Chris at Guy’s party and as soon as I walked up to him and the first thing he said was, 'I am so sorry,’” she says of her friend. “And I’m like, 'Why are you apologizing?' and he like, ‘It was supposed to be your night. You and Amy and Regina, y'all were doing such a great job. I’m so sorry this is now going to be about this.'”