For the first time since the controversial slap happened at the 2022 Oscars, Regina Hall, one of the three co-hosts of the prestigious award ceremony, is commenting on what happened.
The scandalous moment has resulted in several opinions and discussions about both stars, especially Smith’s future in Hollywood. Smith has since offered a heartfelt apology about the incident, and Hall believes it’s a good “first step.”
Regina Hall Praises Will Smith For ‘Tough’ Apology
During the premiere of her new mockumentary “Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul,” where she stars alongside Sterling K. Brown, Hall spoke to Variety Magazine and gave her thoughts on Smith’s recent apology.
“I think it’s a tough thing and I know it’s a difficult road,” she explained. “The first step is he apologized. How people see it, it’s up to them…I know that wasn’t easy.”
Hall continued, referencing the storyline of her new project where she plays the wife of a pastor who owns a megachurch and is trying to make a comeback after a scandal causes them to shut down. Relating Smith’s Oscars fiasco to the movie’s theme, Hall concluded, “Redemption. The whole point is we can evolve from maybe where we are.”
As you might know, Smith, who had been away from the spotlight since the slapping incident, made his comeback to the spotlight in late July, breaking his silence on the matter. In a lengthy video where he answered candid questions from fans about the event, the “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” star apologized to Rock.
“I’ve reached out to Chris and the message that came back is that he’s not ready to talk. And when he is, he will reach out,” he answered. “I apologize to you [Chris] my behavior was unacceptable and I’m here whenever you’re ready to talk.”
Smith also offered an apology to the “Grown Ups” star’s mother and brother Tony Rock before condemning his action. “There is no part of me that thinks that was the right way to behave in that moment,” he said. “There’s no part of me that thinks that’s the optimal way to handle a feeling of disrespect or insults.”
Wanda Sykes Felt ‘Traumatized’ By Smith’s Actions
While Hall’s recent comment acknowledges Smith’s apology and believes he is on the right path, the same cannot be said about her fellow co-host Wanda Sykes, who has publicly bashed Smith for his actions.
As The Blast reported, during an appearance on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” Sykes recalled how the incident went down from her point of view, saying she was caught unawares by the slap when she went for a wardrobe change.
Sharing her thoughts on how it affected her, the comedienne said, “And I just felt so awful for my friend Chris. It was sickening. I physically felt ill. 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 like, ‘How gross is this? This is just the wrong message.”
Wanda noted that she was disgusted that Smith was allowed to remain in the audience after the event and bashed him for not apologizing to the hosts — her, Hall, and Amy Schumer.
“We were the hosts. This is our house, we’re inviting you in, we’re going to take care of y’all tonight and make sure you have a good time. And no one has apologized to us,” she explained. “And we worked really hard to put that show together. I’m like, with the industry itself, like, ‘What the hell is this?'”
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Schumer shared a similar sentiment with Wanda, noting she was “triggered.” In a now-deleted post on Instagram, she wrote, “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.”
The “Life & Beth” star continued, “So much pain in @willsmith anyway I’m still in shock and stunned and sad. I’m proud of myself and my cohosts. But yeah. Waiting for this sickening feeling to go away from what we all witnessed.”