Academy sets vote date on Will Smith “violations”, says actor refused to leave Oscars when asked | News

Will Smith and Chris Rock at the Oscars

The Academy has set an April 18 vote on disciplinary action concerning Will Smith on the day it issued its first public apology to Chris Rock in the wake of Sunday’s Oscars slap and revealed that Smith was asked by officers to leave the ceremony and refused. 

In the latest Academy statement release on Wednesday (March 30) the Academy said Smith is being given at least 15 days’ notice of the vote “regarding his violations and sanctions” and has the opportunity to write back to the Academy within that timeframe.

The organisation has the option to suspend Smith, expel him, or take other sanctions permitted by the bylaws and standards of conduct for his actions which include “inappropriate physical contact, abusive or threatening behavior, and compromising the integrity of the Academy”.

That Smith was asked to leave comes as a surprise. Until now it had been reported that in the minutes following the incident, Academy officials had been debating backstage whether or not to escort the eventual best lead actor Oscar winner from Hollywood’s Dolby Theatre.

Smith walked on to the stage during Sunday’s ceremony and slapped Rock, who was due to present the best documentary feature Oscar, after the comedian and presenter made a joke about his wife Jada Pinkett Smith’s shaved head. Smith returned to his seat and shouted to Rock, “Keep my wife’s name out of your fucking mouth.”

Minutes later he was on stage again delivering an Oscar acceptance speech in which he apologised to the Academy but not to Rock. On Monday he apologised to Rock in an Instagram post, saying, ” I was out of line and I was wrong.” Rock kicks off his ’Ego Death World Tour’ with several shows at Boston’s Wilbur Theater starting tonight.

On Wednesday night at the start of his ’Ego Death World Tour’ in Boston Rock alluded to the fact that he and Smith had not yet spoken, and said he was still processing the incident and would eventually address it.

The Academy’s full statement appears below:

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.

Consistent with the Academy’s Standards of Conduct, as well as California law, Mr. Smith is being provided at least 15 days’ notice of a vote regarding his violations and sanctions, and the opportunity to be heard beforehand by means of a written response. At the next board meeting on April 18, the Academy may take any disciplinary action, which may include suspension, expulsion, or other sanctions permitted by the Bylaws and Standards of Conduct.

Mr. Smith’s actions at the 94th Oscars were a deeply shocking, traumatic event to witness in-person and on television. Mr. Rock, we apologize to you for what you experienced on our stage and thank you for your resilience in that moment. We also apologize to our nominees, guests and viewers for what transpired during what should have been a celebratory event.

Things unfolded in a way we could not have anticipated. While we would like to clarify that Mr. Smith was asked to leave the ceremony and refused, we also recognize we could have handled the situation differently.


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