More details are coming out regarding the investigation into Will Smith following his onstage physical attack on Chris Rock at the 2022 Academy Awards last Sunday.
The Academy has officially begun their inquiry into the incident — and in a new statement, they revealed that Will was apparently asked to leave the ceremony but he refused to do so.
The full letter from the Academy stated:
“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.
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.
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.
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.”
Following the release of this information however, differing reports have surfaced, with sources close to the situation “refuting that the actor was ever formally urged to leave the show.”
These insiders claim that “in the chaos that surrounded the altercation, the Academy and the show’s producer sent mixed message about whether of not Smith would be expelled from the event.”
They went on to state that some members of the Academy expressed wanting Will removed but that no formal ask was made. Another source close to the Academy said Will “was asked to leave through an on-site representative.”
While the Academy declared that Will “refused” to leave, this version of the events “doesn’t sit will” with insiders. Sources claim instead that producer Will Packer “walked out into the orchestra and conferred with Sith, according to two witnesses,” and that he “officially” wanted the actor to stay for the rest of the show.
Meanwhile, Chris Rock has addressed the onstage incident for the first time since it happened.
During his Ego Death Tour on Wednesday (March 30) in Boston, Chris simply said:
“How was your weekend?
I don’t have a bunch of sh** about what happened, so if you came to hear that, I have a whole show I wrote before this weekend. I’m still kind of processing what happened. So, at some point I’ll talk about that sh**. And it will be serious and funny.”
Though he has not said much about the controversial evening, one thing Chris said did dispute something that has been making the rounds since it all went down. The comedian seemingly made it clear that contrary to reports, he has not spoken to Will despite Will’s public apology and Diddy’s claims that the two patched things up after the ceremony.
“I haven’t talked to anyone, despite what you heard.”
Finally, a new video has emerged which shows Jada Pinkett Smith’s reaction to her husband’s actions at the Oscars.
In a video taken by someone at the event, though Jada’s face cannot really be seen in the video (she is only seen from behind), she appears to be laughing at many points during the onstage attack. One laugh seems to have come when Chris declared that will “just smoked the s**t out of me” following the slap. Another laugh came when Chris referred to the moment as “the greatest night in the history of television.”