The Academy Says Will Smith ‘Refused’ to Leave Oscars After Slapping Chris Rock
On Sunday, Will Smith slapped Chris Rock over a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith’s hair at the 2022 Academy Awards.
Despite the altercation, Smith was able to remain at the show, where he would later take the stage to accept his Best Actor award.
During his acceptance speech, he apologized to The Academy, saying, “I want to apologize to the Academy. I want to apologize to all my fellow nominees. This is a beautiful moment and I’m not crying for winning an award. It’s not about winning an award for me. It’s about being able to shine a light on all of the people. Tim and Trevor and Zack and Saniyya and Demi and Aunjanue and the entire cast and crew of ‘King Richard,’ Venus and Serena, the entire Williams family. Art imitates life. I look like the crazy father, just like they said about Richard Williams.”
It has now been revealed that the Academy did attempt to remove Smith from the show beforehand.
In a new statement, the Academy said, “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 Academy noted that “disciplinary proceedings” have been initiated.
According to the Academy, Smith violated “the Academy’s Standards of Conduct, including inappropriate physical contact, abusive or threatening behavior, and compromising the integrity of the Academy.”
Smith has been “provided at least 15 days" notice of a vote regarding his violations and sanctions, and the opportunity to be heard beforehand.”
If the Academy decided to take any disciplinary action, it could include “suspension, expulsion, or other sanctions permitted.”
The Academy stressed that the incident was a “deeply shocking, traumatic event to witness in person and on television.”
Apologizing to Chris Rock, the nominees, and the audience, the Academy 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.”
On Wednesday’s episode of “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” host Wanda Sykes pointed out, “We were the hosts… No one has apologized to us and we worked really hard to put that show together.”
Wanda did mention that Rock apologized to her at an Oscars after-party. She said, “And as soon as I walked up to him, the first thing he said was, ‘I am so sorry,’ and I’m like, ‘Why are you apologizing?’”
Chris acknowledged that “it was supposed to be” her night, saying, “Y’all were doing such a great job. I’m so sorry this is now gonna be about this.”
Wanda admitted she was “traumatized” by the smackdown, saying, “For them to let him stay in that room, and enjoy the rest of the show and accept his award, I was like, ‘How gross is this?’ This is just the wrong message. You assault somebody, you get escorted out the building, and that’s it.”
She added, “I wanted to run out after he won and say, ‘Unfortunately, Will couldn’t be here tonight.’”