According to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Will Smith was asked to leave the Oscars last Sunday after he slapped Chris Rock, but the actor refused.
“Mr. Smith was asked to leave the ceremony and refused, [but] we also recognize we could have handled the situation differently,” the Academy said in a statement, per The Hollywood Reporter. The Academy also reportedly apologized to Rock, as well as the nominees, guests, and viewers at the 94th Academy Awards who witnessed the onstage assault.
The Academy is now beginning “disciplinary proceedings” against the King Richard actor, it said.
“The Board of Governors today initiated disciplinary proceedings against Mr. Smith for violations of the Academy’s Standards of Conduct, including inappropriate physical contact, abusive or threatening behavior, and compromising the integrity of the Academy,” the statement read.
The star will reportedly be able to submit a written response, and following a vote, the Academy will decide whether to let him off with a warning or take further action, which could include “suspension, expulsion or other sanctions permitted by the Bylaws and Standards of Conduct.” The next board meeting is set for April 18.
Though Smith apologized for his actions both during his emotional Best Actor Award acceptance speech and, later, in a statement shared on Instagram, a board member who attended a meeting with the Academy Wednesday said, “I think everyone unanimously feels what he did was out of control,” and they are seriously considering expelling him, THR reported.
Rock has not spoken out about the incident, but refused to press charges against Smith. Meanwhile, it seems every celebrity in Hollywood has offered an opinion on the slap, with some supporting Rock and some sympathizing with Smith.
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