Academy condemns Will Smith slapping incident at Oscars

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the organizer of the Oscars, on Monday (28/3) issued an official statement condemning Will Smith’s behavior for slapping comedian Chris Rock on stage and announcing it would launch an investigation.

Smith slapped Rock in the face during a live broadcast of the 94th Academy Awards on Sunday (27/3), after the comedian joked about Will Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, by making fun of her bald head.

“The Academy condemns Smith’s actions at last night’s show,” the statement said. “We … will review further action and consequences in accordance with our California laws, standards of conduct and laws.”

According to the Academy’s code of conduct, such consequences could result in “suspension of membership or expulsion from membership.”

In recent years, violations of this code have led to members such as Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby and Roman Polanski, being expelled for sexual misconduct charges.

Meanwhile Rock did not report the incident to the police.

“The LAPD’s investigative agency became aware of the incident between these two individuals during the Academy Awards program. The incident involved one person slapping another. The individuals involved have refused to file a police report,” the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) said in an official statement to the press.

“If the relevant parties in the future want a police report, the LAPD is ready to complete an investigation report.”

Before presenting the award for best documentary, Rock directed comments to Pinkett Smith by saying: “Jada, I love you. ‘GI Jane 2,’ can’t wait to see it,” apparently comparing actress Demi Moore’s bald hairstyle in 1997’s GI Jane.

While Pinkett Smith appeared to be responding to the joke by rolling his eyes, the husband walked onto the stage and slapped Rock in the face during the live broadcast, a moment that soon went viral.

After sitting back down, Smith then hurled a rant at the comedian, asking him not to mention his wife’s name.

Pinkett Smith, 50, has previously publicly shared her struggles with hair loss due to the autoimmune disease alopecia. He publicly announced his diagnosis in 2018 during a segment of his Facebook talk show, Red Table Talk.

Initially, the Academy only issued a statement via its Twitter account after the ceremony ended.

“The Academy does not condone violence of any kind,” the tweet said.

Minutes after Sunday night’s incident, Smith was awarded the Oscar for Best Leading Actor for his performance as Richard Williams, the father of tennis players Venus and Serena Williams, in King Richard.

During his acceptance speech, Smith appeared emotional and apologized to the Academy and fellow nominees, but did not directly mention Rock.

“Love will make us do crazy things,” said Smith, responding to his behavior. “Thank you. I hope the Academy will invite me back.” [my/jm]