The question that has people buzzing was, “why was Will Smith allowed to stay at the event?” The short answer is he was asked to leave but refused. According to a new statement released by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences on Wednesday, Smith was asked to leave the 94th Academy Awards ceremony on Sunday night after hitting presenter Chris Rock, but he refused.
The Academy announced that its board of governors had launched its “disciplinary proceedings” against Smith for breaking the organizations’ standards of conduct. During these proceedings, the board will determine what action to take, if any, at its next meeting on April 18, all of which could include suspension or expulsion.
This comes 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.
“Mr. Smith’s actions at the 94th Oscars were a deeply shocking, traumatic event to witness in-person and on television,” The Academy said in its statement. “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.”
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.