Jim Carrey has said the audience at the Oscars was "spineless" for giving Will Smith a standing ovation for his best actor win just minutes after he slapped Chris Rock, and said he was "sickened" by what he saw.

The actor said Smith should have been arrested after he stormed the stage and hit the comedian after he made a joke about his wife Jada Pinkett Smith.

Smith has since described his behaviour as "unacceptable and inexcusable", and said he was embarrassed by his actions.

Discussing his reaction to the events at the ceremony, Carrey told US breakfast show CBS This Morning: "I was sickened, I was sickened by the standing ovation.

"I felt like Hollywood is just spineless en masse and it really felt like this is a really clear indication that we’re not the cool club anymore."

Carrey said Smith "should have been" arrested and when host Gayle King pointed out Rock declined to file charges, the actor said: "He didn’t want the hassle.

"I’d have announced this morning that I was suing for Will for 200 million dollars because that video is going to be there forever, it’s going to be ubiquitous. That insult is going to last a very long time.

"If you want to yell from the audience and disapprove or show disapproval or say something on Twitter, you do not have the right to walk up on stage and smack somebody in the face because they said words."

When King suggested the incident "escalated", Carrey said: "It didn’t escalate, it came out of nowhere because Will has something going on inside him that’s frustrated.

"I wish him the best, I really do. I don’t have anything against Will Smith, he’s done great things. But that was not a good moment.

"It cast a pall over everybody’s shining moment last night. A lot of people worked really hard to get to that place. And to have their moment in the sun, to get their award for the really hard work they did, it is no mean feat to go through all the stuff you have to go through when you are nominated for an Oscar. It’s a gauntlet of devotion that you have to do.

"It was such a selfish moment that cast a pall over the whole thing."

Smith said in a statement that Rock’s joke about his wife’s medical condition 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 annual awards show was thrown into chaos when Smith went on stage and slapped Rock in front of the star-studded audience after the comic made a joke about his wife and her hair loss.

The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air star, 53, has been condemned by the Academy as it launched a formal review into his altercation with Rock during the ceremony.

The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) said no report had been filed after the incident.

Rock has not yet commented.

Source: Press Association