Even if you didn’t watch the Oscars, you’ve probably heard of the now-infamous incident regarding actor Will Smith slapping comedian Chris Rock after the latter made a joke about Smith’s wife.
If you have no idea what I’m talking about, Smith got up and slapped Rock after Rock cracked a joke about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett-Smith and her hairstyle.
Pinkett-Smith suffers from alopecia, a condition that causes hair loss, and has been vocal about her condition for the past few years.
You can watch this video to the end to know more about the incident:
Smith Was Actually Asked to Leave the Ceremony
While many across the globe have been expressing their divided opinions regarding this matter, many questioned why the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences did not remove him immediately from the ceremony.
Instead, Smith continued to occupy his front-row seat and was even awarded the title of best actor barely an hour after he slapped Rock.
Yesterday (30 March), the Academy just revealed that they asked Smith to leave the Oscars ceremony on Sunday (27 March) after he attacked Rock, but Smith refused to do so.
“Things unfolded in a way we could not have anticipated,” the Academy explained.
“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.”
Smith’s Apology and Rock’s Response
After receiving the award for best actor, Smith gave an emotional five-minute acceptance speech. The speech included his apology to the Academy and he defended his family as well, but he did not specifically mention Rock in his speech.
A day later (28 March), Smith posted an apology directed at Rock in particular on Instagram, saying, “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.”
He also offered his apologies to the Academy, production crew and audience in the same post.
“I deeply regret that my behavior has stained what has been an otherwise gorgeous journey for all of us. I am a work in progress,” he said.
On the other hand, his wife, Jada Pinkett-Smith, has said that it is a “season for healing”.
As for Rock, the comedian spoke about the controversial incident publicly for the first time at a show in Boston on Wednesday (30 March) night.
Based on an audio clip posted by Variety, Rock explained said he was “still kinda processing what happened”, and would have more to say about the incident “at some point”.
The Academy’s Board Discussion and Possible Actions Against Smith
The Academy’s board of governors met yesterday (30 March), and also mentioned that it had “initiated disciplinary proceedings” against Smith for his violation of the group’s standards of conduct.
After the meeting, the Academy announced that they would give Smith the chance to defend himself through a written response before the next board meeting next month on 18 April.
Possible disciplinary actions that the Academy may take against Smith include suspension, expulsion or other sanctions.
In the history of the Oscars, very few members of the Academy have been expelled, with many of them accused and convicted of various forms of assault.
These members include Harvey Weinstein, Roman Polanski, and Bill Cosby, as well as actor Carmine Caridi, who was the first person kicked out of the Academy as he shared awards screeners.
The Academy’s Statement
Although the Academy had called Smith out for his actions towards Rock earlier, a statement that it released on Wednesday (30 March) carried a much stricter tone.
The Academy said, “Mr Smith’s actions at the 94th Oscars were 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. We also apologize to our nominees, guests and viewers for what transpired during what should have been a celebratory event.”
Other Celebrities’ Reactions
If you’ve been keeping up with Hollywood drama, you would know by now that many celebrities have been speaking up to express their views about the incident. In particular, most have called Smith out for his violence.
Some names who have condemned Smith’s actions include the hosts of the very same Oscars and Wanda Sykes.
Sykes also mentioned that she felt “physically ill” after witnessing the incident, and shared in an interview with Ellen DeGeneres that Smith should not have been permitted to remain at the ceremony and to receive his award after assaulting Rock.
Canadian actor Jim Carrey echoed similar sentiments, saying how he was “sickened” by the response.
Additionally, he also called Hollywood “spineless” for giving Smith a standing ovation on the same night when Smith received his award.
Whether or Not the Academy Will Withdraw Smith’s Award
Although many have asked if Smith’s most recent Oscar may be taken away from him, it seems unlikely at this point.
For your reference, none of the actors who were expelled by the Academy in the past had their awards withdrawn from them.
American actress Whoopi Goldberg, who is a member of the Academy’s board of governors, confirmed on The View on Monday (28 March), “We’re not going to take that Oscar from him.
She also added that “nobody is OK with what happened”.
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