Will Smith refused to leave the Oscars after slapping Chris Rock!
Los Angeles, California - The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced Wednesday that it is initiating disciplinary proceedings against Will Smith following an altercation at Sunday’s Oscars in which the actor slapped Chris Rock over a joke the comedian made about Smith’s wife.
In a statement, the Academy also revealed that the organization, which has taken criticism from its own members for not removing Smith from the Dolby Theatre after the assault and attempted to explain its own actions that night, saying Smith had been asked to leave the ceremony but refused.
"Things unfolded in a way we could not have anticipated," the group said in a statement. "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 also noted that disciplinary actions are in process. "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."
"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."
Smith will be given 15 days to respond to any punishment the Academy decides on.
Academy apologizes to Chris Rock
The statement goes on to blast Smith’s behavior, which derailed the ceremony, even as Smith went on to draw cheers from many of his peers when, an hour after smacking Rock, he was awarded the lead actor prize for King Richard.
"Mr. Smith’s actions at the 94th Oscars were a deeply shocking, traumatic event to witness in-person and on television," it said.
"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."
Will Smith has since apologized to both the Academy and Chris Rock, saying he was "out of line" and "embarrassed" by what he had done. His wife Jada, meanwhile, said she was ready for "a season of healing."
Cover photo: IMAGO / ZUMA Press