Will Smith Refused To Leave Oscars After Rock Slap

NEW YORK (AP) – The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences said on Wednesday that Will Smith had been asked to leave for Sunday’s Oscar ceremony after hitting Chris Rock, but declined to do so.

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

Many have focused on why Smith was allowed to sit front row at the Academy Awards after the incident. On Wednesday, the academy suggested it was trying to remove the actor from the public.

“Things unfolded in a way that we could not have foreseen,” the academy said. “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.”

An academy representative declined to provide details of how it attempted to remove Smith. After Smith slammed Rock in response to a joke about his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, several stars including Denzel Washington, Bradley Cooper and Tyler Perry spoke to 53-year-old Smith.

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

“Mr. Smith’s actions at the 94th Oscars were a deeply shocking, traumatic event to witness in person and on television,” the academy said. We also apologize to our nominees, guests and viewers for what happened during what a should have been a celebratory event.”

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

A Smith representative did not immediately respond to reports of the academy’s latest moves on Wednesday.

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