Will Smith Faces Disciplinary Action From the Academy; Possibility of Expulsion
Following Will Smith's slap of Chris Rock during the 94th Oscars telecast on Sunday, the Board of Governors held an emergency meeting to discuss the consequences. He now faces “suspension, expulsion, or other sanctions permitted.”
The Academy's statement is highly damning, citing Smith's lack of professional conduct in many areas, including “inappropriate physical contact, abusive or threatening behavior, and compromising the integrity of the Academy.”
He was given 15 days notice of a vote on his violations and sanctions, and he will be given a chance to respond. Smith won the Oscar for best actor for "King Richard" not long after the slap. The Academy will take disciplinary action at its next meeting on April 18.
The Academy claims that they asked Will Smith to leave the Dolby Theatre, but Smith refused to do so. In regard to the handling of the moment, Smith was not removed from the auditorium. The Academy has clarified that Smith was asked to leave but refused. “We also recognize we could have handled the situation differently,” the Academy statement read.
Furthermore, the organization apologized formally to Rock, to the other nominees and to the viewers who watched the ceremony from home and in person. According to the letter. “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.”
The Academy released a statement:
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.
The entire Academy membership received a letter from Academy President David Rubin and CEO Dawn Hudson on Monday evening. Smith's actions have "overshadowed" the evening during which films such as "Dune" and "CODA" won the most awards. The leadership expressed their "outrage" at Smith's actions.
Probably one of the craziest moments in the Academy's 94-year history, it's not the only "crazy" moment during a telecast.