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Academy Claims Will Smith Refused to Leave Oscars Ceremony as Board Disciplinary Inquiry Begins

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The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) announced that it has begun “disciplinary proceedings” against Will Smith on Wednesday while clarifying that the organization asked the actor to leave the Oscars ceremony on Sunday night when he assaulted comedian Chris Rock live on television.

Expanding on its previous statements, the Academy went beyond merely condemning Will Smith’s actions but also apologized to Chris Rock for what transpired.

“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,” the statement said, per The Hollywood Reporter (THR).

The Academy added that Will Smith will be given a chance to defend himself in written word before the board convenes on April 18 to decide the appropriate disciplinary action, which could include “suspension, expulsion, or other sanctions permitted by the Bylaws and Standards of Conduct.”

After Smith stormed the stage and assaulted Rock on Sunday, he screamed obscenities at the comedian, accepted the award for Best Actor, and appeared, in his acceptance speech, to condone his behavior by saying “love will make you do crazy things.”

***LANGUAGE WARNING***

Smith later attended the Vanity Fair Oscars afterparty and danced the night away.

According to the Academy, Smith was asked to leave the ceremony but refused.

“Mr. Rock, we apologize to you for what you experienced on our stage and thank you for your resilience in that moment,” the Academy said. “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,” it concluded.

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.

According to THR awards columnist Scott Feinberg, multiple members of the Academy expressed to him in private that they would like to see Will Smith’s membership suspended in light of the organization’s Standards of Conduct that was implemented during the fallout over convicted sexual predator Harvey Weinstein.

Will Smith issued an Instagram apology on Monday, calling his behavior “inexcusable.”

“Violence in all of its forms is poisonous and destructive. My behavior at last night’s Academy Awards was unacceptable and inexcusable,” he said.

Chris Rock has yet to publicly comment on the incident.





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