The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has initiated disciplinary proceedings against Will Smith following the onstage incident between him and Chris Rock at the 94 annual Academy Awards Sunday.
In a new statement released Wednesday afternoon, the Academy said Smith was asked to leave the ceremony following the incident but refused.
“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 behavioUr, and compromising the integrity of the Academy,” the letter began.
Smith will have 15 days’ notice of a vote, which will be conducted by the board regarding a course of action for the actor and will also have the opportunity to be heard by the board beforehand through a written response. The board may decide on disciplinary action for the “King Richard” actor as early as their next board meeting on April 18.
“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,” the letter explained.
After calling Smith’s actions “deeply shocking,” the Academy apologized to Rock and the nominees, guests and viewers for what transpired during Sunday night’s broadcast.
“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,” the Academy went on to say before concluding their statement.
“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.”
The Academy’s statement comes just one day after it released a letter to its members on Tuesday, notifying them that a formal review of the incident was underway.
Of the formal review, the Academy stated the process will “take a few weeks” to complete, saying, “We will continue to update you on any developments, but we also ask that you respect your Board, Academy staff and the process as this unfolds so it can work in the considered way it was intended and mandated.”
On Sunday, the “King Richard” star abruptly walked onstage and slapped Rock with an open hand, on the face, after the “Saturday Night Live” alum made a joke about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. While taking the stage to present, Rock quipped, “Jada, I love ya. ‘G.I. Jane 2’, can’t wait to see it,” referencing her shaved head.
The “Girls Trip” actress has been vocal about her struggles with alopecia, an autoimmune disorder which causes bald spots and hair loss. After delivering the slap, Smith returned to his seat and yelled, “Leave my wife’s name out of your f**king mouth.”
Soon after, Smith took the stage and accepted his first Oscar for Best Actor.
Smith used a moment in his speech to formally apologize to the Academy for the incident. He later publicly apologized to Rock and again to the Academy in a post shared to Instagram.
Soon after the show, the Academy released a statement condemning Smith’s actions on Twitter.
In addition, the Los Angeles Police Department confirmed that they were aware of the incident and that Rock declined to press charges.
ET has learned that despite Smith’s apology, no reconciliation has occurred between Rock and Smith, and the comedian has yet to speak out about the incident.
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