UPDATED: The Academy has launched a review into last night’s (27) show-stopping Oscars altercation between Will Smith and Chris Rock and has said it will “explore further actions and consequences” while several hours later Smith issued a public apology to Rock via Instagram.
“I would like to publicly apologize to you, Chris. I was out of line and I was wrong,” Smith wrote. ”I am embarrassed and my actions were not indicative of the man I want to be.” Scroll to the bottom to read the full statement.
Issuing its statement on Monday morning the Academy 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.”
The Academy’s standards of conduct set out guidelines for behaviour by members and the process of reviews. After reviewing a matter and obtaining further information from involved parties and witnesses the Academy can decide to “take no action, to take remedial or disciplinary action short of suspension or expulsion of the member respondent, or to refer the matter to the Board of Governors with a recommendation to suspend or expel the member respondent.”
The statement came at midday on Monday after the previous evening’s televised 94th Academy Awards in which Smith took to the stage at Dolby Theatre and slapped Rock when the comedian and best feature documentary award presenter made a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith and G.I. Jane 2 in reference to Pinkett Smith’s alopecia and the 1997 Ridley Scott action drama in which Demi Moore plays a female recruit who shaves her head when she joins an elite U.S. military unit.
Smith returned to his seat and shouted, “Keep my wife’s name out of your fucking mouth!” A short while later Smith was back on stage again accepting the best lead actor Oscar for King Richard and apologised to the Academy, but not to Rock, who has not pressed charges.
Sunday night’s altercation shocked Academy officials as much as those inside the Dolby Theatre and the television audience. In the 11 minutes between the incident and Smith’s acceptance of the lead actor Oscar, officials and show producers scrambled to convene with ABC executives and Smith’s representatives to work out what to do next.
Screen understands from a source close to the ceremony that after an initial few minutes of bemusement there were serious discussions to have Smith removed from the show.
The reaction on social media has varied from support of Rock – particularly by comedians like Kathy Griffin and Jimmy Kimmel – and a denouncement of violence to messages of sympathy for Smith and admiration for defending his wife.
Earlier on Monday fast national ratings released by Nielsen said estimated telecast viewership increased 56% year-on-year to 15.4m viewers.
Will Smith’s Instagram apology in full:
Violence in all its forms is poisonous and destructive. My behaviour at last night’s Academy Awards was unnacceptable 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.
I would like to publicly apologize 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.
I would also like to apologize to the Academy, the producers of the show, all the attendees and everyone watching around the world. I would like to apologize to the Williams Family and my King Richard Family. I deeply regret that my behavior has stained what has been an otherwise gorgeous journey for all of us.
I am a work in progress.