Reacting to the fact that Will Smith smacked Chris Rock right across his face at the Oscars Sunday night, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences said in a statement Monday: “The academy condemns the actions of Mr. Smith at last night’s show. We have officially started a formal review around the incident and will explore further action and consequences in accordance with our bylaws, standards of conduct and California law.”
The statement and review followed an emergency board meeting to discuss Best Actor nominee Smith jumping onto the stage and slapping presenter Rock because Smith didn’t like a joke the comedian told about his wife, before returning to his seat at the ceremony, where he later collected a trophy for his performance in King Richard.
Meanwhile, an industry source tells People that in the hectic backstage minutes post-slap, “having Will removed was definitely discussed seriously.”
However, there were too many moving parts and too many thumbs-up from decision-makers needed to actually make that happen, the source said, explaining, “You can’t plan for something like this and make a split-second decision that needs everyone’s buy-in, and in any iteration that would have consequences.”
Later, Rock’s comedy colleagues weighed in on one of their own being viciously attacked onstage.
“Let me tell you something, it’s a very bad practice to walk up on stage and physically assault a Comedian,” tweeted Kathy Griffin. “Now we all have to worry about who wants to be the next Will Smith in comedy clubs and theaters.”
Let me tell you something, it’s a very bad practice to walk up on stage and physically assault a Comedian.
Now we all have to worry about who wants to be the next Will Smith in comedy clubs and theaters.
— Kathy Griffin (@kathygriffin) March 28, 2022
Some wished that they had their platform back so they could churn out jokes about the incident.
“Just saw the Will Smith slap. Anyone have a late night show I can borrow just for tomorrow?” chimed Conan O’Brien (via Fox News).
Just saw the Will Smith slap. Anyone have a late night show I can borrow just for tomorrow?
— Conan O'Brien (@ConanOBrien) March 28, 2022
And Whoopi Goldberg, who is also a member of the Academy’s Board of Governors, reassured everyone watching The View that while Smith would probably be disciplined over his actions, he would most likely get to keep his Oscar. “We’re not going to take that Oscar from him. There will be consequences I’m sure, but I don’t think that’s what they’ll do.”
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