The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced that an official investigation will be conducted after Will Smith slap Chris Rock at the 94th Academy Awards.
“The Academy condemns the actions of Mr. Smith on last night’s broadcast,” the Academy said in a statement via Variety Monday, March 28. “We have officially initiated a formal review around the incident and will explore further actions and consequences in accordance with our statutes, standards of conduct and California law.”
The organization, which has more than 10,000 members from all branches of the film industry, introduced a new code of conduct in 2017 in the wake of the #MeToo movement. The rules state that there is no room for members who “abuse their status, power or influence in a way that violates standards of decency.” The code also notes that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is “categorically opposed to any form of abuse, harassment or discrimination.”
The post differs from the Academy’s statement on Sunday, March 27, released shortly after Smith, 53, punched Rock, 57, and went on to win an Oscar.
“The Academy does not condone any form of violence,” the band tweeted after the show. “Tonight, we are thrilled to celebrate our 94th Academy Award winners, who deserve this moment of recognition from their peers and moviegoers around the world.”
Backstage at the Dolby Theater was chaotic as producers tried to figure out how to handle the situation. “Academy superiors, once they realized the slap was real, initially focused on making sure Chris was okay,” a source said exclusively. We Weeklynoting that the presenter insisted he was “fine” after the freehand slap to his face.
“Several people thought Will should be removed from the show right after the incident,” the insider adds. âThere was a lot of back and forth about what to do about Will. The reason right now was to allow Will to stay because Chris had gone backstage, and there was no way they would run into each other again. Everyone knew Chris and Will’s whereabouts afterward and weren’t about to let them interact again for security reasons.
SAG-AFTRA issued a similar statement hours after the Academy, also hinting at disciplinary action.
“As the union representing presenters and other performers working on the Oscars, SAG-AFTRA is committed to ensuring that our members always work in a safe environment,” the union said in a statement via The Hollywood Reporter. âViolence or physical abuse in the workplace is never appropriate and the union condemns any such conduct. The incident involving Will Smith and Chris Rock at last night’s Oscars was unacceptable. We have been in contact with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and ABC about this incident and will work to ensure this behavior is properly addressed. SAG-AFTRA does not comment on any pending member disciplinary proceedings.
Whoopi Goldberga governor of the Academy, noted Monday that “consequences” were expected.
âI think he overreacted,â said the Phantom star, 66, said on View. “I get it, not everyone acts the way we’d like them to act under pressure. And he snapped.
She noted that Smith will likely retain his Best Actor in a Leading Role trophy, which he won on Sunday for his role in King Richard. “We’re not going to take that Oscar away from him,” Goldberg said. “There will be consequences, I’m sure, but I don’t think that’s what they’re going to do, especially because Chris said, ‘Look, I’m not making any accusations. “”
Sunday’s ceremony took a turn when Rock took the stage to present Best Documentary. He joked about Jada Pinkett Smithwho suffers from alopecia, joins the cast of GI Jane 2. Smith took the stage and hit the comedian with an open hand. He returned to his seat next to his wife, 50, and shouted, “Keep my wife’s name out of your fucking mouth!”
Smith apologized to the Academy and fellow Best Actor nominees during his acceptance speech. “Art imitates life”, he said. âI look like the crazy dad, like they said. I look like the crazy dad they said about Richard Williams. But love will make you do crazy things.
the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air alum then celebrated the Vanity Fair Oscar party with his wife and children after the awards show.
Reporting by Travis Cronin