According to sources who were present at the Oscars, Academy officials told actor Will Smith to leave after he assaulted comedian Chris Rock, however, he refused to leave.
Academy President David Rubin and CEO Dawn Hudson were reportedly "furious" with Smith and there was "yelling" and "heated conversations" backstage with his reps after the incident. Officials were "apoplectic" and told Smith to leave, but he refused.
That is very different from the original speculation that the Academy just let him stay until his Best Actor category was announced.
They released a letter Wednesday announcing their Board of Governors has started disciplinary proceedings for Smith's violation of their Standards of Conduct.
The letter states, "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."
They added that "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."
Their next meeting will take place on April 18 and a decision on his punishment will be decided.
Days after Will Smith slapped Chris Rock during the 94th #Oscars telecast, the Board of Governors held an emergency meeting to discuss the best actor winner’s consequences. He faces “suspension, expulsion, or other sanctions permitted.” https://t.co/LQJe3zsTOC
— Variety (@Variety) March 30, 2022
The Academy added, "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."
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