Wanda Sykes Discusses Being ‘Traumatized’ By Will Smith’s Oscars Slap During Appearance At Comedy Show

Will Smith and Wanda Sykes
(Image credit: ABC)

Will Smith’s Oscars slap sent shockwaves throughout the entertainment industry, sparking a conversation that’s still going nearly two months later. A multitude of celebrities have weighed in on the situation and, while some have defended Smith’s actions, others have criticized him. Wanda Sykes, who co-hosted this year’s Academy Awards, falls into the latter category. She’s shared thoughts on the matter before but, during a recent comedy show, she opened up about still being “traumatized” by the experience. 

Like everyone else in attendance at this year’s Oscars, Wanda Sykes witnessed Will Smith slap Chris Rock on stage after the comedian made a joke regarding his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. Following the incident, the show progressed, and Smith remained at the ceremony, eventually accepting the Best Actor award and giving a speech. Sykes reflected on that night during an appearance at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts and said (via People) that she finds it hard to discuss the matter. She also got honest regarding how she felt about Smith not be escorted from the premises:

I'm still traumatized. I can't talk about it. I get emotional. I couldn't believe he was still sitting there, like an asshole. Shouldn't you be sitting there with a lawyer or LAPD, motherfucker?

The Upshaws star previously revealed that she wanted to respond onstage following the slap. At the time, she also stated that she felt “awful” for longtime friend Chris Rock following the televised moment. In regard to the King Richard star, the actress asserted that the fact that he was allowed to stay in the building was “gross.” Amid this latest discussion on the subject, she summed up her feelings with some brutally honest sentiments: 

I hope he gets his shit together. Until then, fuck him.

Wanda Sykes is far from the only person within the comedy world to have shared honest thoughts on Will Smith’s actions. Jim Carrey was “sickened” by the fact that Smith received  a standing ovation after accepting his Oscar. Jay Leno also called out the Academy for saying that they were going to “investigate” the situation, as he argued that no further evidence of an “assault” was needed. In addition, Steve Harvey admitted that he “lost a lot of respect for [Smith]” after what went down.

Not every comic has been quite as blunt, though, as Marlon Wayans gave the I Am Legend actor some advice. Wayans revealed that he called up his longtime friend sometime after the broadcast and suggested that he take some time to enter therapy. Other comedians like Richard Ayoade have remained neutral, yet he did make a joke about it, which drew big laughs at an awards show.

At this point, Will Smith has been banned from the Academy for 10 years as punishment. Chris Rock, meanwhile, hasn’t shared much about the situation but has said that he plans to open up about it after he’s been paid for his Academy Awards appearance. Given the gravity of the slap, it’s fair to assume that comments from Wanda Sykes and others could continue to pop up for the foreseeable future.

Erik Swann
Senior Content Producer

Erik Swann is a Senior Content Producer at CinemaBlend. He began working with the publication in 2020 when he was hired as Weekend Editor. Today, he continues to write, edit and handle social media responsibilities over the weekend. On weekdays, he also writes TV and movie-related news and helps out with editing and social media as needed. He graduated from the University of Maryland, where he received a degree in Broadcast Journalism. After shifting into multi-platform journalism, he started working as a freelance writer and editor before joining CB. Covers superheroes, sci-fi, comedy, and almost anything else in film and TV. He eats more pizza than the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.