Will Smith’s fate is becoming a little clearer after The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts, and Sciences said on Wednesday that it had started “disciplinary proceedings” against Smith over an altercation with Chris Rock at Sunday’s Oscars.
More details come just a few days after Smith slapped Rock during the live broadcast on Sunday night when the comedian—who was presenting the Best Documentary—made a remark about Jada Pinkett Smith’s shaved head, which is due to her alopecia. Smith later subtly apologized to the Academy onstage shortly after receiving an Oscar for Best Actor in his role as Richard Williams in King Richard.
According to The Academy, Smith’s disciplinary action might include suspension, expulsion, or other sanctions. Many have questions about why Smith was allowed to stay seated in the first row of the Dolby Theatre following the incident. In the statement, the Academy stated that they “requested” that Smith leave the event, and he “declined,” but that they also acknowledged they could have “handled” the situation differently.
Read the Academy’s full statement below:
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.
Consistent with the Academy’s Standards of Conduct, as well as California law, Mr. Smith is being provided at least 15 days’ notice of a vote regarding his violations and sanctions, and the opportunity to be heard beforehand by means of a written response. At the next board meeting on April 18, the Academy may take any disciplinary action, which may include suspension, expulsion, or other sanctions permitted by the Bylaws 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 to you for what you experienced on our stage and thank you for your resilience in that moment. We also apologize to our nominees, guests and viewers for what transpired during what should have been a celebratory event.
Things unfolded in a way we 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.