Academy condemns Will Smith’s actions, launches review
Will Smith (R), hits Chris Rock during the 94th Academy Awards, Los Angeles, California on March 27, 2022.
Brian Snyder | Reuters
The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences on Monday said condemns the actions of Will Smith during Sunday night’s Oscars and it will launch a formal review of his slapping of presenter Chris Rock.
In a statement Monday, the film 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.”
Smith stunned the Dolby Theatre crowd and viewers at home when he took the stage during Rock’s remarks after the comedian made a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith, Smith’s wife. Rock said, “Jada, I love you. ‘G.I. Jane 2,” can’t wait for it to be here.”
This joke struck a chord. Pinkett Smith has previously spoken out about her diagnosis of alopecia. Rock previously made jokes about her. Rock hosted the 2016 Oscars when many were protesting against the #OscarsSoWhite nominees. Rock said, “Jada’s boycott of the Oscars would be like Rihanna boycotting her panties.” I was not invited.
Smith marched on the stage and punched Rock in the face. Smith returned to his seat and demanded Rock “get my (expletive) wife’s name out of your mouth”. His words echoed clearly throughout the Dolby, though ABC cut the audio for about 15 seconds. Smith was awarded best actor within an hour. Smith also apologized for his speech during acceptance.
Following the performance, the academy released a statement condemning violence. The Los Angeles Police Department said Sunday it was aware of a slapping incident at the Oscars but said the person involved had declined to file a police report.
Some academy members, like writer-producer Marshall Herskovitz, called for the academy to take disciplinary action against Smith.
Herskovitz wrote on Twitter, “He disgraced all our community tonight.”
Whoopi Goldberg is a member the Academy’s board governors and said Monday, “The View,” that they are not taking his Oscar. It will have consequences. That’s what I know.”