Will Smith ‘Refused’ to Leave Oscars After Chris Rock Slap, Academy Says
Shortly after Will Smith and Chris Rock’s confrontation during the 2022 Oscars, the Academy requested the departure of the King Richard star.
“Mr. Smith’s actions at the 94th Oscars were a deeply shocking, traumatic event to witness in-person and on television,” the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences wrote in a Wednesday, March 30, statement via the Associated Press. “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.”
The statement continued: “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 Saturday Night Live alum, 57, presented an award during the Sunday, March 27, ceremony after cracking a few jokes, including one where he quipped that Jada Pinkett Smith would be great in a G.I. Jane sequel due to her shaved head. (Pinkett Smith suffers from alopecia.) The Maryland native, 50, rolled her eyes at her Madagascar costar before her husband, whom she wed in 1997, walked onstage and smacked Rock across the face.
“Keep my wife’s name out your f—king mouth,” the Men In Black actor, 53, yelled after returning to his seat.
One day later, a source told Us Weekly exclusively that the Academy was debating if Smith “should be removed” immediately from the ceremony after the incident.
Following the incident, the Academy’s Board of Governors launched “disciplinary proceedings” against Smith’s conduct on Wednesday, looking into any potential “violations of the Academy’s Standards of Conduct, including inappropriate physical contact, abusive or threatening behavior, and compromising the integrity of the Academy.” Smith’s case will be heard at the April 18 board meeting in which the Academy can take any disciplinary action necessary, which could include suspension, expulsion or other sanctions.
While Rock has not publicly addressed the incident, the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air alum has since publicly apologized to Rock for his actions.
“Violence in all of its forms is poisonous and destructive,” Smith wrote via Instagram on Monday, March 28. “My behavior at last night’s Academy Awards was unacceptable and inexcusable. … 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. I would also like to apologize to the Academy, the producers of the show, all the attendees and everyone watching around the world.”
Us previously confirmed that the Everybody Hates Chris creator did not file a report with the Los Angeles Police Department.
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