Will Smith Was Asked To Leave Oscars After Chris Rock Incident But Refused, Academy Claims

The Academy also recognised it "could have handled the situation differently".
Will Smith
Will Smith
Kevin Mazur via Getty Images

Will Smith was asked to leave the Oscars after slapping Chris Rock on stage but refused, the Academy has claimed.

The organisation described Will’s actions as “shocking” and “traumatic”, but it said it recognised it “could have handled the situation differently”.

The Academy also apologised to Chris, praising his “resilience in that moment”.

There was an altercation after Chris made a “G.I. Jane” joke about Will’s wife Jada Pinkett Smith while presenting an award, in an apparent reference to her buzzcut hairstyle. She has previously spoken about her experience of living with alopecia.

After Will walked on to the stage and hit Chris, he told the comic to “leave my wife’s name out of your fucking mouth”.

In a fresh statement on the matter, the Academy said: “Things unfolded in a way we could not have anticipated.”

Will Smith slapped Chris Rock onstage during the 94th Oscars
Will Smith slapped Chris Rock onstage during the 94th Oscars
ROBYN BECK via Getty Images

It continued: “While we would like to clarify that Mr Smith was asked to leave the ceremony and refused, we also recognise we could have handled the situation differently.”

“Mr Smith’s actions at the 94th Oscars were a deeply shocking, traumatic event to witness in-person and on television,” the academy said.

“Mr Rock, we apologise to you for what you experienced on our stage and thank you for your resilience in that moment.

“We also apologise to our nominees, guests and viewers for what transpired during what should have been a celebratory event.”

The day after the event, Will issued a public apology to Chris, saying he was “out of line” and “wrong”.

“I am embarrassed and my actions were not indicative of the man I want to be. There is no place for violence in a world of love and kindness,” he said.

The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) previously said Chris had not pressed charges over the incident, as no report had been filed.

He has since broken his silence on the matter during a comedy show in Boston on Wednesday.

“I don’t have a bunch of shit to say about that,” he said. “I’m still processing what happened, so at some point, I’ll talk about that shit. It’ll be serious. It’ll be funny, but right now, I’m going to tell some jokes.”


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