Academy 'seriously discussed' asking Will Smith to leave Oscars event after he hit Chris Rock: report

The Academy had 'seriously discussed' asking Will Smith to leave the Oscars event. Here's what happened.
Chris Rock reacts after being hit on stage by Will Smith.(Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
Chris Rock reacts after being hit on stage by Will Smith.(Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
Published on Mar 29, 2022 04:01 PM IST
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After actor Will Smith hit comedian Chris Rock on stage at the Oscars 2022, the Academy had 'seriously discussed' asking him to leave. As per an EW source, it was 'a very huge decision' which would have 'consequences within the show'. They also said that to make a decision within a short span was a 'nightmare and borderline impossible'. (Also Read | Chris Rock's comedy tour ticket price, sales skyrocket post Will Smith's slap at Oscars 2022)

On Monday, Chris who was presenting the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature made a joke about the appearance of Will's wife, actor Jada Pinkett Smith. Chris said, “Jada, I love you. GI Jane 2, can’t wait to see it.” It was unclear if Chris was aware that Jada has alopecia, a disease that causes hair loss. Moments later, Will walked up to Chris and hit him in the face.

Now, a source familiar with the situation told EW, "Having (Will) leave was seriously discussed. You're also trying to make sure Chris Rock is okay. So basically, to make a very huge decision like that, which either way would've had consequences within the show, in a 10-minute span and get everybody together and have that discussion logistically was a nightmare and borderline impossible."

The source added, "I think everybody sort of had ideas or opinions on what happened… Everyone had to take a couple of minutes to actually figure out what just happened, then, what's the best and quickest course of action? Then once you get to that step, that's when, as you know, 'What should we do?' turns into seven different things, and you add the seven different things with four or five different stakeholders, it's a lot to navigate in a 10-minute window."

After Will won the best actor award for his role as the father of tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams in King Richard, he broke down and apologised. However, he didn't mention Chris in his apology.

Later, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences in a statement said, “The Academy condemns the actions of Mr Smith at last night’s show. We have officially started a formal review around the incident and will explore further action and consequences in accordance with our bylaws, standards of conduct, and California law.”

Will has now apologised to Chris on Instagram, "Violence in all of its forms is poisonous and destructive. My behavior at last night’s Academy Awards was unacceptable and inexcusable. Jokes at my expense are a part of the job, but a joke about Jada’s medical condition was too much for me to bear and I reacted emotionally."

A part of his statement also read, "I would like to publicly apologise to you, Chris. 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."

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