Academy criticised for failing to get Will Smith to leave Oscars after hitting Chris Rock: ‘Impotent indecision’

Actor broke the Academy’s code of conduct by slapping Rock, but apparently did not leave the ceremony when asked

Ellie Harrison
Thursday 31 March 2022 12:21
Moment Will Smith slaps Chris Rock at the 2022 Oscars

The Academy has been criticised after it failed to eject Will Smith from the Oscars ceremony on Sunday night (27 March).

The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences has now begun “disciplinary proceedings” against Smith after he slapped Chris Rock during the event, adding in a statement: “Mr Smith was asked to leave the ceremony and refused, we also recognise we could have handled the situation differently.”

Not only did Smith not leave the ceremony, he went on to be awarded with the Best Actor Oscar for his performance in King Richard just minutes after the incident.

“I am used to impotent indecision from the Academy leaders at this point. But the idea that they made the call decisively and then failed to execute it is almost the worst version of the story I can think of,” one viewer tweeted.

“If you asked him to leave and he refused why wasn’t he removed?” another tweet asked.

A third viewer posted: “Gosh, maybe it’s almost as if somewhere in the building @TheAcademy might have wanted to hire security. OH wait, that was THE most heavily guarded area in LA that night, but security isn’t used against A listers. Don’t want to ‘ruin’ the show!”

“The security at the Academy Awards is so lax they couldn’t remove someone who rushed the stage and attacked a presenter? Doesn’t seem plausible,” another Twitter user wrote.

The moment after Smith slapped Rock

The slapping incident has divided stars and viewers. Jim Carrey went so far as to say Smith should have been arrested, while Oscars co-host Wanda Sykes described Smith’s behaviour as “sickening”.

Whoopi Goldberg, meanwhile, who is on the Academy’s board said: “We’re not going to take that Oscar from him.” Tiffany Haddish described the slap as “the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen”.

While Smith has since issued an apology to Rock, the comedian said on Wednesday (30 March) he was “still processing” what happened during his first stand-up show since the incident. Sources close to Rock have said he had “no idea” about Pinkett Smith’s condition.

Find the full list of 2022 Oscar winners here. See the latest updates and reactions from the dramatic ceremony here, and read about the biggest talking points here.

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