The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences is claiming that it did ask Will Smith to leave the 2022 Oscars ceremony after attacking presenter Chris Rock, but LAPD sources told TMZ that police officers inside the Dolby Theatre were never consulted to forcibly remove Smith.
Variety’s sources, meanwhile, are disputing Smith was ever asked to leave at all.
As TMZ reported, “The Academy could have buttonholed the Best Actor presenters and told them in advance … if Will won, simply say he’s not invited on stage and then quickly say ‘We’ll be right back’ and then they would go to commercial. That didn’t happen, and we’re told the reasoning was [that] the Academy officials felt it would make a bad situation even worse.”
The Academy announced March 30 that they were officially beginning “disciplinary proceedings” into Best Actor winner Smith. “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,” an official statement read.
The Academy also claimed that Smith was “asked to leave the ceremony and refused,” admitting the Board could have “handled the situation differently.” The Academy also apologized to Rock for how the evening unfolded.
Read the full statement below:
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.