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Chris Rock could sue Will Smith for damages after being slapped by the Oscar-winning actor at last night’s Academy Awards, according to a legal expert.

The comedian, 57, received an open-handed smack in the face from Smith, 53, as he stood on-stage during the Oscars awards ceremony at the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles, California.

It came after Rock aimed a joke at the actor’s wife, Jada Pinkett-Smith, related to her hair loss as a result of an auto-immune condition.

Rock declined to press criminal charges with the LAPD in the aftermath of the slap, but a legal expert told The Sun that the comic could still sue in civil court. 

Beverley Hills attorney Adam Michael Sacks said both Smith and the awards show were at risk of being embroiled in legal action. 

‘[Rock] could sue Will for public humiliation and embarrassment. He could say the assault hurt his confidence and career.

‘Chris could even sue the academy… As a performer on stage, he could argue he should’ve been protected.’

After Smith strode out on stage and appeared to smack Rock with an open right hand, Rock staggered and exclaimed ‘wow, Will Smith just smacked the s**t out of me’

The slapping incident occurred after Rock cracked jokes about the 'GI Jane' haircut of Pinkett Smith, referring to her shaved head. The shocking scene, broadcast live around the world, stunned both the live audience and TV viewers

The slapping incident occurred after Rock cracked jokes about the 'GI Jane' haircut of Pinkett Smith, referring to her shaved head. The shocking scene, broadcast live around the world, stunned both the live audience and TV viewers

The slapping incident occurred after Rock cracked jokes about the ‘GI Jane’ haircut of Pinkett Smith, referring to her shaved head. The shocking scene, broadcast live around the world, stunned both the live audience and TV viewers 

Will and Jada tried to focus on the biggest win of his career as the night drew on - not the shocking slap

Will and Jada tried to focus on the biggest win of his career as the night drew on - not the shocking slap

Will and Jada tried to focus on the biggest win of his career as the night drew on – not the shocking slap

Sacks went on to suggest that Rock and Smith would likely settle out of court, should the comedian decide to file a civil suit, but added Rock could still change his mind and press on with a criminal case.

The Academy meanwhile has launched a formal review into the incident and says it ‘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,’ an Academy Awards spokesperson said.

The organization held emergency talks over Zoom about stripping Will Smith of his Best Actor gong for the smack earlier today, because the assault breaks a new code of conduct drawn up by The Academy in the wake of #MeToo movement and the appalling crimes of Harvey Weinstein. 

Members, including Smith himself, have agreed to behave in a way that never violates ‘the integrity of the Academy by their actions’ or face suspension or expulsion. Critics are clear that the actor’s live TV attack meets that definition – but his supporters insist he ‘should be able to hold on to it’.

A source told The Sun: ‘Once the ceremony was over they called in key members to hold an emergency meeting about what action they should take.

‘There have been calls to have Will stripped of his Best Actor gong. They cannot be seen to be condoning violence in any way and there are some people in the Academy who believe they should remove the award from him to make a point. Others, however, believe he should be allowed to hold on to it’.

Chris Rock, who has not been seen since the attack, has been offered a ‘package of after care’ including a counsellor if he needs one, the insider said. 

Meanwhile, LA’s rich and famous still welcomed Smith like a hero as they partied with him on Sunday night. 

A Beverley Hills lawyer said Rock and Smith would likely settle out of court, should the comedian decide to file a civil suit, but added Rock could still change his mind and press on with a criminal case. The Academy meanwhile has launched a formal review into the incident and says it 'condemns the actions of Mr. Smith at last night's show.'

A Beverley Hills lawyer said Rock and Smith would likely settle out of court, should the comedian decide to file a civil suit, but added Rock could still change his mind and press on with a criminal case. The Academy meanwhile has launched a formal review into the incident and says it 'condemns the actions of Mr. Smith at last night's show.'

A Beverley Hills lawyer said Rock and Smith would likely settle out of court, should the comedian decide to file a civil suit, but added Rock could still change his mind and press on with a criminal case. The Academy meanwhile has launched a formal review into the incident and says it ‘condemns the actions of Mr. Smith at last night’s show.’

Smith brushed off a tumultuous night by partying to celebrate the greatest achievement of his career: Best Actor at the Oscars

Smith brushed off a tumultuous night by partying to celebrate the greatest achievement of his career: Best Actor at the Oscars

Smith brushed off a tumultuous night by partying to celebrate the greatest achievement of his career: Best Actor at the Oscars

Popular: Will was pictured in the middle of the crowd, dancing and cheering with fellow stars

Popular: Will was pictured in the middle of the crowd, dancing and cheering with fellow stars

Popular: Will was pictured in the middle of the crowd, dancing and cheering with fellow stars

The star was hugged, high-fived and hallowed by guests at the Vanity Fair party in Beverley Hills, posing for selfies with the usually woke LA crowd who cheered him as he rapped along to his biggest hits including Summertime and Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It until the early hours of the morning. 

But the Hollywood glitterati, many of whom will have been at the ceremony last night, have publicly criticised people like JK Rowling, who is a staunch defender of women’s rights including how they should take primacy over those of transgender people, especially when it comes to safe spaces. 

Critics have also pointed out The Academy banned Kevin Hart as host of the 2019 Academy Awards over historic unacceptable tweets – but has not punished Will Smith for assaulting someone. Chrissy Teigen was also cancelled because of social media posts.

Bernardine Evaristo, the Man Booker prize-winning writer, tweeted: ‘What a thing to wake up to. Only the fifth black man in nearly 100 years to win an Oscar for male lead, and the first in 16 years, resorts to violence instead of utilising the power of words to slay Chris Rock. Then he claims God and love made him do it.’  

Source: DUK News

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