Will Smith refused to leave Oscars after hitting Chris Rock, Academy reveals as it considers expelling actor

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

Leonie Cooper
Thursday 31 March 2022 06:07
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Footage emerges of Chris Rock's face after slap at the Oscars

Will Smith was asked to leave the Oscars after breaking the Academy’s code of conduct by hitting Chris Rock, but refused to do so, it has emerged.

The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences has now begun “disciplinary proceedings” against Smith after he slapped the comedian during the ceremony in Los Angeles on Sunday 27 March.

“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,” a new statement from the Academy said.

“At the next board meeting on 18 April, the Academy may take any disciplinary action, which may include suspension, expulsion, or other sanctions.”

It added that “Mr Smith was asked to leave the ceremony and refused, we also recognise we could have handled the situation differently.”

In the statement, the Academy apologised directly to Rock, as well as to nominees, guests and viewers of the 2022 Oscars.

Read the 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 behaviour, 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 18 April, 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 apologise to you for what you experienced on our stage and thank you for your resilience in that moment. We also apologise to our nominees, guests and viewers for what transpired during what should have been a celebratory event.

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“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 recognise we could have handled the situation differently.”

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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