Amy Schumer ‘triggered and traumatised’ by Will Smith Oscars slap incident

Schumer and co-host Wanda Sykes voice upset at actor and the Academy, while ticket sales for victim Chris Rock rapidly spike

Two days on from Will Smith slapping presenter Chris Rock at the 94th Academy Awards, following a joke about his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, and Hollywood appears united in feeling Smith deserves substantial reprimand for his actions.

One of the three hosts for this year’s ceremony, Amy Schumer, has said she is still “triggered and traumatised” by the incident, and “waiting for this sickening feeling to go away from what we all witnessed”.

Writing on Instagram, Schumer added: “I love my friend [Chris Rock] and believe he handled it like a pro. Stayed up there and gave an Oscar to his friend [Questlove] and the whole thing was so disturbing.

“So much pain in [Will Smith], anyway I’m still in shock and stunned and sad.”

Amy Schumer, Wanda Sykes and Regina Hall at the start of the show.
Amy Schumer, Wanda Sykes and Regina Hall at the start of the show. Photograph: Myung Chun/Los Angeles Times/REX/Shutterstock

On Wednesday, Schumer’s co-host, Wanda Sykes, expressed her outrage about Smith’s behaviour – and the Academy’s inaction – to Ellen DeGeneres.

“I just felt so awful for my friend Chris,” said Sykes. “And it was sickening, absolutely sickening. I physically felt ill, and I’m still a little traumatised by it.”

She continued: “For them to let him stay in that room and enjoy the rest of the show and accept his award, I was like, ‘How gross is this? This is just the wrong message.’”

DeGeneres’s full interview with Sykes will be broadcast on Thursday.

On Monday, Smith posted a public apology to Rock on social media, saying: “I am a work in progress.” This followed his qualified apology in his best actor acceptance speech later on Sunday night, defending his actions by saying “love makes you do crazy things”.

The Academy has said it will conduct a formal review of the incident, which will last “a few weeks” and following which it will take “appropriate action”.

Rock is yet to publicly respond to the incident, but is not pressing charges. Ticket sales for his forthcoming tour have spiked in the wake of Sunday night, with one marketplace site saying it sold more tickets to Rock’s tour in the night following the Oscars than it did in the entire month preceding.

The price for the cheapest seats on the upcoming US and UK tour rose by about 800%.

Speaking on US TV on Tuesday, Jim Carrey said that had he been in Rock’s position on Sunday, he would have sued Smith for $200m, and that Smith should have been arrested.

The standing ovation which met Smith’s best actor award later the same evening left Carrey feeling “sickened”, he said. “Hollywood is just spineless en masse and it really felt like this is a really clear indication that we aren’t the cool club any more.”

The host, Gayle King, further speculated: “If anyone else had walked from the audience and done that, they would’ve been escorted out by security or maybe even arrested.”

On Wednesday, officials from the Bafta said they would have “removed [Smith] from the building” following the slap. “It’s just a complete red line for us,” added Sara Putt, chair of Bafta’s television committee and deputy chair of Bafta.

Others who have come forward with their opinions on the incident over the past 24 hours include Isla Fisher, who posted a photograph of her husband, Sacha Baron Cohen, alongside Rock, with a love heart, and OJ Simpson, who said he thought Smith was “wrong” but that he could “understand the sentiment”.


Catherine Shoard

The GuardianTramp

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