The morning after a raucous Oscarcast that saw Will Smith slap presenter Chris Rock in the face over his joke about Jada Pinkett Smith’s hair, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has issued another statement.
“The Academy condemns the actions of Mr. Smith at last night’s show. We have officially started a formal review around the incident and will explore further action and consequences in accordance with our Bylaws, Standards of Conduct and California law.”
The follows a late night tweet by AMPAS following the altercation in which they posted, “The Academy does not condone violence of any form.”
That probe could see Smith ejected from AMPAS or suffer some sort of suspension from the organization and its events, including next year’s Oscars.
Oscars Producer Will Packer Weighs In On Will Smith & Chris Rock's On-Stage Altercation: "This Was A Very Painful Moment For Me"
View co-host and Academy Governor in the Actor’s branch Whoopi Goldberg said today, “We’re not going to take that Oscar from him.”
“There will be consequences I’m sure, but I don’t think that’s what they’re going to do, particularly because Chris said ‘Listen, I’m not pressing any charges.’” added Goldberg referring to how Rock wasn’t pressing any charges against Smith with the LAPD.
“I think it was a lot of stuff probably built up,” Goldberg said today, noting that Will and Jada Pinkett Smith have been the butt of jokes for various reasons for years, including previous jabs from Rock. “I think he overreacted…I think he had one of those moments where it was like G.D. it, just stop. I get it, not everybody acts the way we would like them to act under pressure. And he snapped.”
Though Rock declined to file a report with the LAPD, the Fargo star actually has six months to change his mind. Under California law, an assault like what Smith conducted upon Rock could result in a maximum of six months behind bars and a $100,000 fine.
With Rock not filing a police report at present, it is unlikely the Academy could take any legal measures like that against Smith, though it is likely to be among the topics raised at the group’s upcoming board meeting where they’ll do their traditional de-brief of the ceremony.
It is clear in the aftermath of the incident, that several board members are very upset with what went down on Sunday night and how it was handled, or rather not handled. Despite some backstage consultations, the organization and producers decided not to remove Smith from the event and the Dolby Theater, we hear. In fact, the handwringing went on so long that over half an hour passed and Smith was back up on stage accepting his Best Actor award for his King Richard performance.
And the 2023 Oscars were clearly on Smith’s mind last night as he gave a passionate but disjointed acceptance speech full of idioms and apologies, though not to Rock publicly. “I hope the Academy invites me back,” the actor exclaimed poignantly.
Last night in presenting the Oscar for Documentary Feature, Rock joked about Pinkett-Smith’s shaved head, saying, “Jada, I love ya. G.I. Jane 2, can’t wait to see it.” Pinkett-Smith has alopecia. The joke prompted Smith to get up from his chair and walk toward Rock, slapping him in the face. For a minute, it all appeared to be part of a stunt.
“Wow,” said Rock afterward. “Will Smith just smacked the s**t out of me.” Smith’s comments were bleeped when he returned to his seat, but it was apparent that he he was enraged by Rock’s quip, shouting out, “Keep my wife’s name out your f***king mouth.”
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