The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has launched a formal review following Will Smith’s assault on Chris Rock at Sunday’s Oscars ceremony.
According to ‘Variety’, the organisation behind the annual film awards show initially said it condemned violence without mentioning Smith by name, but now it is making its displeasure over the incident more explicit.
“The Academy condemns the actions of Smith at last night’s show,” a spokesperson for the organisation said.
“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.”
It appears that Smith may face some type of disciplinary action or sanction, though it’s unlikely he will be made to forfeit his prize. In its official standards of conduct, the Academy states it is “categorically opposed to any form of abuse.”
The Academy’s full Board of Governors will meet Wednesday night and is expected to discuss the incident, the Hollywood Reporter confirmed.
Smith, who was named best actor for his portrayal of Richard Williams, the father of tennis greats Venus and Serena Williams, in ‘King Richard’, had his big night marred by his outburst. After Chris Rock made a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith’s close cropped haircut, referencing ‘G.I. Jane’, Smith charged the stage and slapped Rock.
He then screamed at Rock to “leave my wife’s name out of your f***ing mouth.” Pinkett Smith has said her hair loss results from alopecia.
When Smith assaulted presenter Chris Rock during the Academy Awards, television history was made – as was the collective undoing of Hollywood decorum.
But why wasn’t Smith ejected from the ceremony for the internationally televised incident?
Shock, for starters, numerous sources close to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences told ‘Variety’.
It’s evident from social media accounts and wide reports from inside the telecast that many attendees were dumbfounded by the act, unsure if it was a bit between the two famous men or an intentional attack.
Adjacent to Hollywood’s Dolby Theatre in the Lowes Hotel, on site at the annual Governor’s Ball post-reception, Academy leadership convened to discuss protocol, one insider said. The Academy is a non-profit organisation ruled by bylaws, and sources say there appear to be no provisions addressing open-hand smacking across the face on the live show.
Escorting Smith out of the ceremony was discussed, the source said, though by the time any substantive scenarios were imagined, he had already been called up to the podium to accept an Oscar for his turn in ‘King Richard’.
Another person close to the event pointed out that show producers did not want the optics of having security remove a beloved movie star from his seat, especially as Smith supporters highlighted the defence of his wife Jada Pinkett Smith. Rock’s joke about her bald head invoked reference to Pinkett Smith’s open struggle with alopecia.
The source indicated Rock’s joke was off the cuff, and not included in the script fed to him on teleprompters.
When Smith accepted his honour, he tearfully apologised to the Academy and his fellow nominees, though he failed to mention Rock by name.
The Academy is expected to address the scandal as early as Monday evening, and it would not be surprising to see Smith’s membership in the prestigious body come under some form of review. Smith may also offer up another apology. It appears that Smith may face some kind of sanction, though there’s no indication his Oscar will be revoked.