The Academy reveals Will Smith refused to leave Oscars after slapping Rock
Will Smith could face expulsion from the Academy for his open-handed slap against Chris Rock during the Oscars.
Will Smith refused to leave the Oscars ceremony after slapping comedian Chris Rock, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) revealed Wednesday as it began disciplinary action against the Hollywood star.
Smith could face expulsion from the Academy for the open-handed slap, which came moments before he was handed the best actor award for his role in King Richard.
"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," a statement pointed out.
Smith could face suspension, expulsion, or other sanctions
The Academy, the body that hands out the Oscars, indicated that it would hold a vote on what action should be taken against Smith after slapping Rock.
The statement indicated that "The Board of Governors today initiated disciplinary proceedings against Mr. Will 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."
According to the Academy, "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 concluded.
Rare expulsions over sexual assault
Expulsion from the Academy is rare, but not unheard of: Harvey Weinstein was kicked out in 2017 after reports emerged of decades of sexual assault.
Similarly, director Roman Polanski was expelled in 2019 after years of controversy about his 1978 conviction for the rape of a 13-year-old girl.
However, non of the two were stripped of their Oscars.
Academy apologizes to Rock
Attendees of the ceremony Sunday watched Smith storming the stage and slapping Rock, who had cracked a joke about his wife's hair.
Jada Pinkett - Smith's wife - has alopecia, a condition that causes her to lose hair.
In its Wednesday statement, the Academy offered its apologies to Rock over the "deeply shocking, traumatic event."
"Mr. Rock, we apologize to you for what you experienced on our stage and thank you for your resilience in that moment," the Academy expressed.