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What Chris Rock said to Wanda Sykes hours after Will Smith slap

Oscars co-host Wanda Sykes revealed what happened when she ran into Chris Rock hours after he got slapped by Will Smith at the Academy Awards.

WASHINGTON — Oscars co-host Wanda Sykes said she felt it was "gross" that Will Smith was allowed to stay at the Academy Awards after he slapped Chris Rock

"You assault somebody, you get escorted out the building and that's it," Sykes stated during an during an appearance on "The Ellen Show," where she shared her firsthand account of one of the most shocking moments in Oscars history. 

Sykes also revealed she saw Rock at an after party and he apologized to her, explaining he was sorry the on-stage confrontation would overshadow all the work she and the other hosts put in.

Sykes, a comedian herself, recounted to Ellen DeGeneres how she was walking from her trailer to the backstage area when the slap happened. Then, she saw the aftermath on a monitor. 

"I just saw Will leaving the stage and everything was quiet, and I'm like 'what happened? what happened?' and everyone was like 'Oh my God, Oh my God,'" Sykes described.  

Someone eventually showed Sykes the video of Smith walking onstage and slapping Rock after the comedian made a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith's shaved head, which is due to her hair loss from alopecia.

"It was sickening, I physically felt ill and I'm still a little traumatized by it," Sykes recounted, adding she felt awful for her friend, Chris. "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 is just the wrong message."

Hours later, after Smith won the best actor Oscar and the show had wrapped up, Sykes ran into Rock at an after party. 

"As soon as I walked up to him, the first thing he said was 'I am so sorry,' and I'm like, 'why are you apologizing?' He was like, 'It was supposed to be your night...you and Amy [Schumer] and Regina [Hall] were doing such a great job, I'm so sorry this is now going to be about this'...because that's who Chris is," Sykes described

During his first comedy show since the incident, Rock briefly addressed the slap, saying he was "still kind of processing what happened."  

As for what sort of punishment Smith could face, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has told members in a letter that it "will take a few weeks" to determine the "appropriate action" it will take in response to the incident. 

CNN and Variety both obtained the letter from Academy President David Rubin and CEO Dawn Hudson. 

The letter declares that the group's leadership was "upset and outraged" that Smith's actions "overshadowed" the "celebration of the many individuals in our community who did incredible work this past year."

The Academy's Board of Governors are reportedly scheduled to meet Wednesday evening as part of their annual post-Oscars review. It's expected the group will discuss the incident. 

One possible punishment that appears to be off the table is Smith losing the best actor Oscar he won on Sunday just minutes after the confrontation.  

Whoopi Goldberg, a member of the Academy’s board of governors, said Monday on “The View”: “We’re not going to take that Oscar from him. There will be consequences, I’m sure.”

In an Instagram post Tuesday morning, Pinkett Smith did not directly mention the Sunday night confrontation but heavily alluded to the incident in a simple message that was just 11 words long.  

"This is a season for healing and I'm here for it," she wrote. 

Credit: Evan Agostini/Invision/AP
Jada Pinkett Smith, from left, Willow Smith, Will Smith, Jaden Smith and Trey Smith arrive at the Vanity Fair Oscar Party on Sunday, March 27, 2022, at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

During his acceptance speech for best actor on Sunday, a tearful Smith apologized to the Academy for his actions earlier in the show, but also seemed to defend what he did and didn't mention Rock by name. On Monday evening, he issued a formal apology to the comedian, the Academy and viewers at home, saying he was “out of line” and that his actions are “not indicative of the man I want to be.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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