Will Smith ‘made second apology’ during six-minute Zoom call with Oscar bosses

Board members criticised Academy over ‘lack of transparency’ in how it has been dealing with fallout from onstage altercation

Will Smith breaks down in tears during Oscars acceptance speech
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Will Smith reportedly called the Academy bosses over video call earlier this week to express remorse over slapping Chris Rock at the Oscars.

Smith struck and swore at Rock after the 57-year-old comedian made a joke about the appearance of his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, live on stage at the Oscars awards ceremony on 27 March.

The slap made headlines around the world, and Smith is now facing the prospect of disciplinary action from the Academy.

While Smith apologised to the Academy and audience when accepting his Best Actor Oscar, just minutes after the altercation, he didn’t apologise to Rock.

However, the King Richard actor issued a public apology to Rock on Monday (28 March), condemning violence as “destructive and poisonous in all its forms”.

Now, it has been reported that Smith called the Academy president David Rubin and CEO Dawn Hudson and apologised for his actions during a “brief” Zoom call on Tuesday (29 March).

One source with direct knowledge of the meeting between Smith, Ruben and Hudson told Variety the call lasted for roughly 30 minutes.

A separate report by Deadline, however, claims the Zoom meeting only lasted six minutes.

Over the call, Smith reportedly apologised for slapping Rock again, and made it known that he understood his actions would have consequences.

Smith also allegedly tried to explain why Rock’s joke about Pinkett Smith’s shaved head prompted his response.

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Pinkett Smith has previously opened up about battling an auto immune disorder called alopecia, which causes excessive hair loss.

The Academy in a statement on Wednesday said it had initiated “disciplinary proceedings” against Smith for violating its Standards of Conduct, but, on Friday (1 April), Smith announced his resignation from the organisation.

Find exactly what that means for Smith’s future at the Oscars here.

Will Smith teared up during his Best Actor award acceptance speech and apologised to the Academy for hitting Rock

Academy board members have alleged that they do not recall either Rubin or Hudson informing them of Tuesday’s call with Smith.

“Why would they keep this from us,” one “insider” who was present for Wednesday’s (30 March) board meeting asked Deadline. “It only contributes to an atmosphere of suspicion and lack of leadership.”

“This lack of transparency undermines our ability to come to a suitable resolution to the whole thing,” an Academy member told the publication.

The Academy in its statement on Wednesday also revealed that Smith was asked to “leave the ceremony and refused”.

“We also recognise we could have handled the situation differently,” the Academy added.

Amid conflicting reports about whether Smith was asked to leave or not, the Oscars organisers have been criticised for their “impotent indecision” in the aftermath of the altercation.

“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.

Oscars producer Will Packer told Good Morning America that the LAPD was “prepared” to arrest Smith over the slap but Rock declined to press charges.

ABC released a clip of Packer’s forthcoming interview on Thursday (31 March) ahead of the full US telecast on Friday.

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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