Academy Says Will Smith Was Asked to Leave Oscars But He Refused

The Board of Governors have begun official disciplinary proceedings
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The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science has begun disciplinary hearings against Will Smith for slapping Chris Rock onstage at the Oscars.

“The Board of Governors today initiated disciplinary proceedings against Mr. Smith for violations of the Academy’s Standards of Conduct, including inappropriate physical contact, abusive or threatening behavior, and compromising the integrity of the Academy,” the statement said, via The Hollywood Reporter.

The statement contained one shocking revelation: Smith was asked to leave the ceremony after attacking Rock, but he wouldn’t leave.

“Things unfolded in a way we could not have anticipated. While we would like to clarify that Mr. Smith was asked to leave the ceremony and refused, we also recognize we could have handled the situation differently,” the statement read.

At the next board meeting scheduled for April 18, the Academy will decide how to take disciplinary action, which could include “suspension, expulsion, or other sanctions permitted by the Bylaws and Standards of Conduct.” Smith will be given at least 15 days notice of a vote regarding his violations and sanctions, and the opportunity to be heard by written response.

As previously reported by Los Angeles, punishment for Smith could look like a possible yearlong suspension from the Academy—which also means he would miss out on any potential nominations.

The Hollywood Reporter reached out to Smith’s representatives for comment.

It’s now the third day of exhaustive coverage on the fallout of Smith’s impromptu stage assault of comedian and presenter Chris Rock. Smith didn’t like a joke Rock made about his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. The joke referenced Pinkett Smith’s bald head and compared it to the Demi Moore movie “G.I. Jane,” where a fictional woman shaves her head to train as a Navy Seal. Pinkett Smith has suffered hair loss due to alopecia. Smith wasn’t finished after delivering a hard slap to a much smaller Rock, however, but continued to shout at Rock from his seat, “Keep my wife’s name out your f—ing mouth.”

While Smith didn’t apologize to Rock during his acceptance speech for Best Actor for King Richard almost an hour later, he did offer an Instagram apology both to the Academy and to Rock on Monday. “I was out of line and I was wrong. I am embarrassed and my actions were not indicative of the man I want to be. There is no place for violence in a world of love and kindness.”

See below for the Academy’s full statement:

The Board of Governors today initiated disciplinary proceedings against Mr. Smith for violations of the Academy’s Standards of Conduct, including inappropriate physical contact, abusive or threatening behavior, and compromising the integrity of the Academy.

Consistent with the Academy’s Standards of Conduct, as well as California law, Mr. Smith is being provided at least 15 days’ notice of a vote regarding his violations and sanctions, and the opportunity to be heard beforehand by means of a written response. At the next board meeting on April 18, the Academy may take any disciplinary action, which may include suspension, expulsion, or other sanctions permitted by the Bylaws and Standards of Conduct.

Mr. Smith’s actions at the 94th Oscars were a deeply shocking, traumatic event to witness in-person and on television. Mr. Rock, we apologize to you for what you experienced on our stage and thank you for your resilience in that moment. We also apologize to our nominees, guests and viewers for what transpired during what should have been a celebratory event.

Things unfolded in a way we could not have anticipated. While we would like to clarify that Mr. Smith was asked to leave the ceremony and refused, we also recognize we could have handled the situation differently.


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