The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences said Wednesday that actor Will Smith refused to leave after hitting Chris Rock at Sunday’s Oscars ceremony.
The academy said it is considering actions against Smith for violating the group’s standards of conduct. Such actions could include suspension, removal from the academy, or other measures.
During the ceremony seen live around the world, Smith walked up to the stage and hit presenter Chris Rock in the face with his open hand. Rock had made a joke about the appearance of Smith’s wife, actor Jada Pinkett Smith.
Rock’s joke related to Pinkett Smith’s hairless head. She has a medical condition that affects hair growth. Rock, a comedian, had also directed a joke at Pinkett Smith during the 2016 Oscars ceremony.
People have wondered why Smith was permitted to stay after the incident and receive his Oscar for best actor.
On Wednesday, the academy suggested that it attempted to remove Smith from the ceremony. The group said in a statement: “Mr. Smith was asked to leave the ceremony and refused.”
The academy added that Smith could offer a written defense before the group meets again on April 18. The academy also apologized to Chris Rock, people at the event and viewers of the broadcast.
Smith’s representative did not answer requests for comment on Wednesday. Smith had offered his own apology on Monday to Rock, the academy and viewers. He said, “I was out of line and I was wrong.”
Pinkett Smith has not commented on the incident so far. She posted on Instagram, “This is a season of healing and I’m here for it.”
At a performance late Wednesday night in Boston, Rock said, "I'm still processing what happened, so at some point, I'll talk about that…"
Only a very small number of members have ever been removed from the academy. They include producer Harvey Weinstein, director Roman Polanski, and actors Bill Cosby and Carmine Caridi.
Whoopi Goldberg, a well-known entertainer, is also a member of the academy’s board of governors. On her show The View, she said Monday: “We’re not going to take that Oscar from him.” The academy has not asked those removed from the group to return their Oscars. Goldberg added that “nobody is OK with what happened.”
Wanda Sykes co-hosted the 2022 Oscars with Amy Schumer and Regina Hall. She said she felt physically ill after Smith hit Rock. In a discussion with Ellen DeGeneres that will air on April 7, Sykes also said letting Smith stay and accept his Oscar should not have happened.
I’m Ashley Thompson.
Words in this Story
conduct - n. the way that someone behaves
apologize - v. to express regret
out of line - phrase. behave inappropriately or in a way that breaks the rule
entertainer - n. a person who entertain such as singer, actor, comedian