By Kerri-Ann Roper, PA Entertainment Editor
Oscars co-host Amy Schumer has said she is “still triggered and traumatised” as she praised comedian Chris Rock for handling it “like a pro” after Will Smith stormed onto the stage and slapped him during the 94th awards show.
The annual ceremony was thrown into chaos when Fresh Prince star Smith, 53, slapped Rock in front of the star-studded audience, after the comic made a joke about his wife Jada Pinkett Smith and her hair loss.
Smith, who went on to be named the winner of the leading actor Oscar for King Richard after the incident, has issued a public apology to Rock, while Jada posted a picture on Instagram reading: “This is a season for healing and I’m here for it.”
Schumer, who hosted the ceremony alongside Wanda Sykes and Regina Hall, wrote on Instagram: “I think we can all agree that the best way to unpack what happened is to stream my series @lifeandbethhulu and see me on tour this fall.
“But for real. Still triggered and traumatized. I love my friend @chrisrock 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 @willsmith anyway I’m still in shock and stunned and sad. Im proud of myself and my cohosts. But yeah. Waiting for this sickening feeling to go away from what we all witnessed.”
Smith said in his statement that Rock’s joke about his wife’s medical condition, alopecia, had caused him to react “emotionally”, but “violence in all its forms is poisonous and destructive”.
He concluded his apology by saying: “I am a work in progress.”
The Academy has launched a formal review into his altercation with Rock during the ceremony saying in a statement that it “condemns the actions of Mr. Smith” at the show.
A ‘full meeting’ of the Academy’s board of governors has been called for Wednesday evening, according to The Hollywood Reporter, who say the incident will be “topic number one”.
Hollywood star Sharon Stone commented on Schumer’s Instagram post, saying “you were fabulous hilarious and beautiful”.
US comedian and former Oscars host Whoopi Goldberg spoke out following the incident saying Smith had “made a mistake” and that the Academy would not take his best actor prize from him.
“We’re not going to take that Oscar from him,” she said on her talk show The View.
“There will be consequences, I’m sure, but I don’t think that that’s what they’ll do, particularly because Chris said, ‘Listen, I’m not pressing any charges’.”
She said Smith had “overreacted” and added: “I get it, not everyone acts the way we would like them to under pressure, some people just snap. He snapped.”
Other celebrities defended Smith, with comedian Tiffany Haddish saying the incident was “the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen”.
“When I saw a black man stand up for his wife. That meant so much to me,” she told People magazine at the Governors Ball after the ceremony.
“Maybe the world might not like how it went down, but for me, it was the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen because it made me believe that there are still men out there that love and care about their women, their wives.”
Smith’s son Jaden 23, also appeared to defend his father’s actions, tweeting: “And That’s How We Do It”.
And That’s How We Do It
— Jaden (@jaden) March 28, 2022
Tennis star Serena Williams, whose father was played by Smith in King Richard, shared a video on her Instagram story showing her looking shocked, later admitting she “had to put her drink down”.
Rock had joked on stage about Pinkett Smith’s buzzcut, saying: “Jada, can’t wait for GI Jane 2,” prompting the actress to roll her eyes.
The Magic Mike XXL star and Red Table Talk host has previously spoken about her struggles with alopecia and said it is what prompted her to shave her head.
During his Late Late Show on American channel CBS, James Corden used a sketch to quip that Smith “can’t take a joke”.
The Carpool Karaoke host told viewers: “Seriously though, I applaud Chris Rock for recovering, keeping the show moving. It was an incredibly dignified response.
“I’ll say this, Will Smith can’t take a joke, Chris Rock can take a punch. A steel jaw. Unbelievable.”
The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) said no report had been filed after the incident.