After coming under fire for apparently not responding accordingly after Will Smith slapped Chris Rock on stage at the Oscars, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which oversees the awards, says the actor was actually asked to leave – but he refused.
The Academy says things unfolded in a way they could not have anticipated.
“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,” a statement reads in part.
WILL SMITH TO FACE ‘DISCIPLINARY PROCEEDINGS’
The Academy has also revealed it is launching a formal review of the incident, which could mean consequences for Will Smith. There has been a wave of reactions to that infamous slap, with fellow comedians rallying behind Chris Rock and lauding him for managing to maintain composure – even after being assaulted in front of the entire world.
“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 to you for what you experienced on our stage and thank you for your resilience in that moment,”
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
Not only did Smith stay at the ceremony after he smacked Rock, he went on to win the ‘Best Actor’ Oscar for his performance in the film King Richard, a real-life film about the rise of tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams. The audience cheered Smith for his win, even getting up from their seats.
In his acceptance speech, he apologised to everyone, except for Rock. He eventually did say sorry, issuing a public apology via his Instagram page.
The academy said Smith’s violations included “inappropriate physical contact, abusive or threatening behavior, and compromising the integrity of the Academy.”