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Following the Oscars debacle when actor Will Smith got on stage and slapped comedian Chris Rock, the Academy on Wednesday issued a statement that claimed Smith was asked to depart, but refused.
“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,” the statement said, according to Deadline.
The viral incident occurred at the Oscars on Sunday after Rock made a joke about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett-Smith: “Jada … G.I. Jane 2, can’t wait to see it,” Rock said.
Will Smith approached and slapped Rock, then returned to his seat and loudly exclaimed, “Keep my wife’s name out your f***in’ mouth.”
Smith later returned to the stage to accept an Oscar for his acting in “King Richard.”
On Monday, the A-list actor issued a statement in which he apologized to Rock.
“My behavior at last night’s Academy Awards was unacceptable 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,” Smith said in the statement. “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.”
In its statement on Wednesday, the Academy announced that its Board of Governors had begun disciplinary proceedings regarding Smith.
“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,” the statement noted.
“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,” the statement said.