Will Smith (R) hit Chris Rock while Rock was speaking on stage during the 94th Academy Awards in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, March 27, 2022.
Brian Snyder | Reuters
Will Smith was asked to walk out of the 94th annual Academy Awards ceremony on Sunday after slapping presenter Chris Rock, but refused, according to a new statement from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on Wednesday.
The organization behind the Oscars says its board of governors has initiated disciplinary action against Smith for violating the group’s conduct standards. The next meeting of the board on 18 April will decide what action it will take, if any, including a stay or expulsion.
The academy said in a statement that “Mr Smith’s actions at the 94th Oscars were a deeply traumatic, traumatic event to witness in person and on television.” “Mr Rock, we apologize to you for what you felt on our stage and thank you for your resilience in that moment. We also apologize to our nominees, guests and spectators for what should have been a celebration.”
Read the full statement from the academy:
The Board of Governors today initiated disciplinary action against Mr. Smith for inappropriate physical contact, offensive or threatening behavior, and breach of the Academy’s Code of Conduct for compromising the integrity of the academy.
In line with the academy’s code of conduct and California law, Mr. Smith is being given at least 15 days’ notice to vote on his violations and bans, and is being given a hearing in advance with a written response. At its next board meeting on 18 April, the Academy may take any disciplinary action, including suspension, expulsion, or other restrictions approved by the bylaws and standards of conduct.
Mr Smith’s work at the 94th Oscars was a deeply traumatic, traumatic event to witness in person and on television. Mr. Rock, we apologize to you for what you felt on our stage and thank you for your resilience in that moment. We also apologize to our nominees, guests and spectators for what should have been a celebration.
Things have unfolded in a way that we did not expect. While we would like to make it clear that Mr. Smith was asked to leave the event and was refused, we also acknowledge that we could have handled the situation differently.
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