Just hours before Chris Rock takes the stage in Boston tonight, Will Smith’s fate after the actor’s furious blow to the strip at Sunday’s Oscars is in his hands after a meeting of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Board of Directors after one this afternoon.
“In accordance with the Academy’s Standards of Conduct and California law, Mr. Smith will be given at least 15 days’ notice to vote regarding his violations and sanctions, and will be given the opportunity to be heard beforehand through a written response,” the Academy said today that the “disciplinary procedure” has begun after the virtual meeting of the dozens of governors and other AMPAS employees was concluded. “At the next board meeting on April 18, the Academy may take disciplinary action, including suspension, expulsion, or other sanctions permitted by statute and standards of conduct.”
Unsurprisingly, votes were overwhelming among nearly 50 governors to investigate further
Surprisingly, the Academy is now revealing that the now Best Actor winner was actually asked to leave the Dolby Theater after hitting Rock over a crack in Jada Pinkett-Smith’s hair. a request the King Richard star clearly decreased. “While we would like to clarify that Mr. Smith was asked to leave the ceremony and declined, we also recognize that we could have handled the situation differently,” the Academy said of the incident at the Will Packer that netted the 94th Academy Awards.
Three days after the Slap Heard Round the World is still reverberating, today’s virtual board meeting was always about what to do, not knock down the hammer. “Expect this more C-Span than CNN,” one participant told Deadline for today’s digital sit-down.
Being a bureaucratic entity, the board will need some time to figure out its next steps — as the Academy noted in its press release late Tuesday and in today’s statement.
AMPAS cold will also notify other parties related to the incident, but Rock will not be asked to participate. Another topic is whether the police will be called in. The Academy could decide to press charges against Smith, even though Rock declined to press charges after contacting the LAPD on March 27.
READ THE FULL STATEMENT OF AMPAS BELOW:
The Board of Directors today initiated disciplinary proceedings against Mr. Smith for violating the Academy’s standards of conduct, including inappropriate physical contact, abusive or threatening behavior, and endangering the integrity of the Academy.
In accordance with the Academy’s Standards of Conduct and California law, Mr. Smith has at least 15 days’ notice to vote on his violations and sanctions, and will be given the opportunity to be heard beforehand through a written response. At the next board meeting on April 18, the Academy may take disciplinary action, including suspension, expulsion, or other sanctions permitted by statute and standards of conduct.
Mr. Smith’s actions at the 94th Oscars were a deeply shocking, traumatic event to witness in person and on television. mr. Rock, we apologize for what you went through on our stage and thank you for your resilience at that time. We also apologize to our nominees, guests and viewers for what happened during what should have been a celebratory event.
Things unfolded in ways we could not have foreseen. While we would like to clarify that Mr. Smith was asked to leave the ceremony and declined, we also recognize that we could have handled the situation differently.