Will Smith refused to leave Oscars after slap: Academy

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Entertainment Desk

31 March 2022, 10:21 am

Will Smith refused to leave Oscars after slap: Academy

Will Smith refused a request to leave the Oscars ceremony after he slapped presenter Chris Rock, Hollywood’s film academy said on Wednesday as it started a process that could lead to the best actor winner’s expulsion from the group.

During the live telecast, Smith strode up to the stage after Rock made a joke about the appearance of Smith’s wife, then smacked the comedian’s face. The actor returned to his seat and twice yelled an obscenity at Rock.

Less than an hour later, Smith accepted the best actor award, prompting questions about why he had not been escorted out.

“Things unfolded in a way we could not have anticipated,” said the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which hands out the Oscars, in a statement.

“While we would like to clarify that Mr. Smith was asked to leave the ceremony and refused, we also recognize we could have handled the situation differently.”

The academy said it started a process that could lead to discipline against Smith for violations of its standards of conduct, ‘including inappropriate physical contact, abusive or threatening behavior, and compromising the integrity of the Academy’.

Suspension, expulsion or other sanctions may be approved at its next board meeting on April 18.

Smith apologized to Rock, the academy and viewers in a statement on Monday, saying he was ‘out of line’ and ‘reacted emotionally’.

Rock had referred to the 1997 film ‘G.I. Jane’ in which actress Demi Moore shaved her head. It was unclear whether Rock was aware that Pinkett Smith has a condition that causes hair loss.

At a stand-up show in Boston on Wednesday evening, Rock made his first public comments about the matter, saying he was still ‘processing’ what happened and would talk about it later.

“It’ll be serious. It’ll be funny, but right now I’m going to tell some jokes,” he told a sold-out crowd.

Under the academy’s rules, Smith has the chance to provide a written response before the group takes action. Smith’s representatives did not respond to a request for comment on Wednesday.


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