Will Smith (R) hits Chris Rock as Rock spoke onstage at the 94th Academy Awards in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, March 27, 2022.
Brian Snyder | Reuters
Will Smith was asked to leave the 94th annual Academy Awards ceremony Sunday after punching host Chris Rock, but declined, according to a new statement from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Wednesday.
The organization behind the Oscars said the board of directors has initiated disciplinary proceedings against Smith for violating the group’s standards of conduct. At its next board meeting on April 18, it will decide what action it will take, if any, including suspension or expulsion.
Smith’s actions at the 94th Oscars were a deeply shocking, traumatic event to witness personally and on television,” The Academy said in its statement. “Mr. Rock, we apologize for what you experienced on our stage and thank you for your resilience at the time. We also apologize to our nominees, guests and viewers for what happened during what was a festive event should have been.”
For days, the public speculated as to why Smith was not removed from the ceremony after the altercation. It’s not clear exactly how and when he was asked to leave, but he ended up staying at the Dolby Theater and later that evening, taking home the Best Actor award.
The Academy said it acknowledged that “we could have handled the situation differently”.
Read the full statement from the Academy:
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.
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