The fallout from Will Smith slapping Chris Rock continues as more comedians, now including Sheryl Underwood, give their opinions about the incident.
The Jasmine Brand reports that Underwood, who is one of the longest-serving co-hosts of CBS' The Talk, said on the show how she is afraid to do stand-up comedy because of a fear of being slapped by someone in the audience.
Underwood commented on how it seemed like no one rushed to help Rock after he was slapped by Smith, saying, "It depends on who you are and how heavy the fine is and how necessary you are to the commerce."
“…Nobody stopped to check on the dude that got hit,” she said. “Nobody stopped.” She also talked about her fears after Smith slapped Rock, adding, “I’m gonna say this as a comic. I’m afraid now to get on a stage ’cause on my third show where everybody been drinking, if you don’t like my joke, do you now believe that you can get up and slap me?”
"This ain't cool," she said. "There's gotta be accountability quicker."
In an effort to address the outrage regarding Smith’s slap, Oscars producer Will Packer finally addressed why Smith wasn’t asked to leave the Oscars. Packer said that the LAPD were ready to arrest Smith, but Rock was adamant about not pressing charges.
The police were “laying out very clearly what Chris’ rights are. They were saying: This is battery. We will go get him. We’re prepared. We’re prepared to get him right now. You can press charges. We’ll arrest him,” he said on Good Morning America, according to The Hollywood Reporter, adding that Rock was “very dismissive…[e]ven to the point where I said, ‘Rock, let him finish.'”
He also said that fellow producer Shayla Crown told him Smith was about to be removed, but he said he wasn't a part of those conversations.
“I immediately went to the Academy leadership that was on site and I said, ‘Chris Rock doesn’t want that.’ I said, ‘Rock has made it clear that he does not want to make a bad situation worse.’ That was Chris’ image. His tone was not retaliatory, his tone was not aggressive and angry,” he said. “And so I was advocating for what Rock wanted at that time, which was not to physically remove Will Smith at that time. Because, as it has now been explained to me, that was the only option at that point. It has been explained to me that there was a conversation that I was not a part of to ask him to voluntarily leave.”
Editor’s Note: Following the GMA interview, sources told Deadline that Rock was not asked if he wanted Smith to leave and that this conversation may be conflated with the one Rock has with police saying he didn’t want charges pressed.