Will Smith refused to leave the Oscars ceremony after slapping Chris Rock onstage, the academy said
- The academy said it asked
Will Smithto leave the Oscarsafter he hit Chris Rock, but he refused.
- The organization also said it had begun disciplinary proceedings, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Following a board of governors meeting on Wednesday, the academy announced that it had begun "disciplinary proceedings" against Smith.
The organization's statement, which was first reported by The Hollywood Reporter, said Smith was being investigated for violating the academy's "standards of conduct, including inappropriate physical contact, abusive or threatening behavior, and compromising the integrity of the Academy."
Smith will receive 15 days notice of a vote and will have the opportunity to submit a written response, the outlet reported. The academy's next board meeting is scheduled for April 18, where the organization may take action that could include "suspension, expulsion, or other sanctions permitted by the Bylaws and Standards of Conduct."
"Things unfolded in a way we could not have anticipated," the statement said, according to several media outlets. "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 altercation occurred after Rock, who was announcing the best documentary winner, made a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith's shaved head. Pinkett Smith has previously talked about her experience having the hair-loss condition alopecia.
Immediately following Rock's comments, Smith walked onto the stage and slapped the comedian across the face. After returning to his seat, the actor shouted "Keep my wife's name out of your fucking mouth" twice.
Minutes later, Smith won the Best Actor award for his performance in the film "King Richard."
The academy described Smith's actions as 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," the academy said. "We also apologize to our nominees, guests and viewers for what transpired during what should have been a celebratory event."
Two people who attended Wednesday's two-and-a-half hour board of governors meeting told The New York Times that the gathering was "emotional." The Times reported that attendees of the meeting said they felt that it was their duty "to not normalize violence."
Several members of the academy previously told The Hollywood Reporter that they felt the organization should suspend Smith's membership and that he should not return to next year's ceremony to fill the traditional role of presenting the best actress award.
Insider reached out to the academy and a representative for Smith for comment.
On Monday, Smith posted an apology statement on Instagram, describing his behavior as "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. "I would like to publicly apologize to you, Chris. I was out of line and I was wrong."
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