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Academy condemns Will Smith’s actions, launches review

Mar 28, 2022, 1:25 PM | Updated: Jun 13, 2022, 3:37 pm
(L-R) Chris Rock and Will Smith are seen onstage during the 94th Annual Academy Awards at Dolby The...
(L-R) Chris Rock and Will Smith are seen onstage during the 94th Annual Academy Awards at Dolby Theatre on March 27, 2022 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images)
(Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences says it condemns the actions of Will Smith during Sunday night’s Oscars and it will launch a formal review of his slapping of presenter Chris Rock.

In a statement Monday, the film academy said it will also “explore further action and consequences in accordance with our Bylaws, Standards of Conduct and California law.”

Smith stunned the Dolby Theatre crowd and viewers at home when he took the stage during Rock’s remarks after the comedian made a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith, Smith’s wife. Rock turned to Jada Pinkett Smith, Smith’s wife, and said, “Jada, I love you. ‘G.I. Jane 2,’ can’t wait to see it.”

The joke touched a nerve. Pinkett Smith, whose head is shaved, has spoken publicly about her alopecia diagnosis. Rock has also previously joked about her. Rock hosted the 2016 Oscars, when some were boycotting the ceremony over the #OscarsSoWhite group of nominees, including the Smiths. Said Rock: “Jada boycotting the Oscars is like me boycotting Rihanna’s panties. I wasn’t invited.”

Smith strode on stage and slapped Rock across the face. Back in his seat, Smith twice shouted for Rock to “get my wife’s name out your (expletive) mouth.” His words echoed clearly throughout the Dolby, though ABC cut the audio for about 15 seconds. Within an hour, Smith won best actor. During his acceptance speech, Smith apologized to the academy.

After the show Sunday night, the academy posted a statement condemning violence. Some academy members, like writer-producer Marshall Herskovitz, called for the academy to take disciplinary action against Smith.

“He disgraced our entire community tonight,” wrote Herskovitz on Twitter.

Whoopi Goldberg, a member of the Academy’s board of governors, said Monday on “The View”: “We’re not going to take that Oscar from him. There will be consequences, I’m sure.”

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Academy condemns Will Smith’s actions, launches review