Will Smith ‘asked to leave’ Oscars after Chris Rock slap but ‘refused’: Academy

The academy’s board of directors met on Wednesday to initiate disciplinary proceedings against Smith for breaching the group’s standards of conduct. The academy said disciplinary action for Smith could include suspension, expulsion or other penalties.

Many have focused on why Smith was allowed to remain seated in the front row of the Dolby Theater after the incident. On Wednesday, the academy suggested it was trying to remove the actor from public view.

will smith marries jada oscars Will Smith with his wife Jada Pinkett Smith at the Oscars on March 28. (Photo: AP)


“Things turned out in a way that we could not have foreseen,” the academy said. “Although we would like to clarify that Mr. Smith was asked to leave the ceremony and refused, we also recognize that we could have handled the situation differently.”

An academy representative declined to elaborate on how it attempted to remove Smith. After Smith hit out at Rock in response to a joke about his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, several stars including Denzel Washington, Bradley Cooper and Tyler Perry spoke with Smith, 53.

The academy said Smith was given the opportunity to defend himself in a written response before the board meets again on April 18. The film academy had previously condemned Smith’s onstage assault on Rock, but it used stronger language on Wednesday.

“Sir. Smith’s actions at the 94th Academy Awards were a deeply shocking and traumatic event to witness in person and on television,” the academy said. Rock, we apologize for what you experienced on our stage and thank you for your resilience at this time. We also apologize to our nominees, guests and viewers for what happened at what should have been a celebratory event.

On Monday, Smith issued an apology to Rock, the academy and viewers, saying “I was out of line and wrong.”


Rock, who has yet to publicly respond to the incident, performed Wednesday night in Boston. He was greeted with a thunderous standing ovation.

“How was your week end?” began Rock who then warned the crowd that he didn’t have much to say about the Oscars yet, according to audio released by Hollywood outlet Variety. “I’m still processing what happened”

A representative for Smith did not immediately respond to messages Wednesday regarding the academy’s latest moves.

Only a very small number of academy members have been kicked out, including Harvey Weinstein, Roman Polanski, Bill Cosby and actor Carmine Caridi, who was kicked out for sharing awards screens.

Academy board member Whoopi Goldberg told The View on Monday, “We’re not going to take that Oscar away from him.” (Even Oscars won by expelled members were never returned.) Goldberg added that “no one is okay with what happened.”

Others from Sunday’s broadcast also began to speak out. Co-host Wanda Sykes told Ellen DeGeneres in an interview that aired April 7 that she felt physically ill after Smith slapped Rock. When he returned to his seat, Smith twice yelled at Rock to “keep my wife’s name out of your (expletive) mouth.”

“I’m still a little traumatized by it,” Sykes said in a clip released Wednesday.

Within an hour, Smith was back on stage accepting the Best Actor award for his performance in “King Richard.” Many in the Dolby Theater gave him a standing ovation.

“I was like, how disgusting is that? That’s the wrong message. You assault someone and you get escorted out of the building and that’s it. But for them to let it go on, I thought that it was disgusting,” Sykes said. “I wanted to be able to run (on stage) after he won and say, ‘Um, unfortunately, Will couldn’t be here tonight.'”

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