On the infamous night of the 94th Academy Awards, when Will Smith took to the stage of the Dolby Theatre and slapped presenter Chris Rock across the face, many were asking why the King Richard actor was not removed from the ceremony for violent conduct. Well, recent reports suggest that the Academy did indeed try, but Smith refused.
The shocking revelation came after a statement from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science’s Board of Governors who announced a disciplinary procedure against Will Smith. In their statement, the Academy noted, “Mr. Smith’s actions at the 94th Oscars were a deeply shocking, traumatic event to witness in-person and on television. Mr. Rock, we apologise to you for what you experienced on our stage and thank you for your resilience in that moment”.
Continuing, the statement adds, “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”.
In further reports from TMZ, the Academy president David Rubin and CEO Dawn Hudson met with representatives of the actor backstage and told them that Smith should leave the ceremony. Refusing, the icon was allowed to go onstage and accept his award for Best Actor, delivering an emotional acceptance speech.
The actions of Smith have garnered widespread criticism across the world of Hollywood, with the likes of Jim Carrey, Judd Apatow, Amy Schumer and many more voicing their disappointment.
Taking to Instagram, Smith wrote a public apology regarding his actions, stating, “I would like to publicly apologise to you, Chris. I was out of line and I was 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”.