Will Smith Refused to Leave the Oscars, The Academy Says

Will Smith allegedly refused to leave the Oscars after slapping Chris Rock, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences said after the Board of Governors meeting on Wednesday. The Board began "disciplinary proceedings" against the King Richard actor. Smith walked onto the stage Sunday night after Rock made a joke about his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, and he still accepted the Best Actor Oscar moments later.

"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 behavior, and compromising the integrity of the Academy," the Academy said in a statement Wednesday, reports The Hollywood Reporter. The Academy will give Smith a 15-day notice before a vote and the opportunity to submit a written response. During the April 18 board meeting, the Academy could take action, including "suspension, expulsion, or other sanctions permitted by the Bylaws and Standards of Conduct."

The Academy claims Smith was asked to leave the ceremony and "refused," but the organization also recognizes they "could have handled the situation differently." The Academy called Smith's actions "a deeply shocking, traumatic event to witness" at the Doly Theatre and on television. They apologized to Rock for "what you experienced on our stage and thank you for your resilience in that moment" and the nominees, guests, and viewers for "what transpired during what should have been a celebratory event."

Towards the end of the 94th Academy Awards, Rock came to the stage to present the Best Documentary Feature. He made a few jokes, including one about Pinkett Smith's shaved head, a hairstyle choice she made due to alopecia. Smith walked to the stage and slapped Rock across the face. When he took his seat, Smith yelled at the comedian to take his wife's name out of his "f—ing mouth" twice. Smith was not escorted out of the theater and was even permitted to accept his Best Actor Oscar. In his acceptance speech, Smith apologized to the Academy and the other nominees, but did not mention Rock.

Smith did not apologize to Rock until Monday afternoon when he published a statement on his Instagram page. "I would like to publicly apologize to you, Chris," Smith wrote. "I was out of line and I was wrong. I am embarrassed and my actions were not indicative of the man I want to be. There is no place for violence in a world of love and kindness."


Rock has not publicly commented on the incident, but the Los Angeles Police Department said he does not plan to press charges. Rock's first public stand-up performance since Sunday is scheduled for Wednesday night in Boston.