Academy reveals Will Smith told to leave after slap in the face as disciplinary action looms

Regardless of how it turns out in the end, Will Smith seems likely to face disciplinary action after he slapped Chris Rock onstage during the 2022 Oscars.

In a statement from the Academy of Motion Picture of Arts and Sciences, “The Board of Governors today initiated disciplinary proceedings against Mr. Smith for violations of Academy standards of conduct, including inappropriate physical contact, abusive or threatening behavior and an attack on the integrity of the Academy”.

The statement also clarified that Smith was indeed asked to leave the awards after the slap, but given that Smith was staying to accept the Best Actor award, that request apparently went unfulfilled.

In a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, the Academy said, “Things unfolded in a way that we could not have anticipated. Although we would like to clarify that Mr. Smith was asked to leave the ceremony and refused, we also recognize that we could have handled the situation differently.

The Academy has announced that it will investigate the matter and appears to be moving forward with disciplinary action, which “may include suspension, expulsion, or other penalties permitted by the Bylaws and Standards of Conduct.” Mr. Smith will receive 15 days notice of a vote on his shares and may address the Board in writing.

At the 2022 Oscars, Chris Rock appeared on stage and reportedly told an off-the-cuff joke about Will Smith’s wife, Jada-Pinkett Smith saying he was excited for GI Jane 2. Moments later, Smith took the stage and slapped Chris Rock.

Following confusion over whether this was a scripted scene, it was later revealed to be a real-life situation. Smith briefly referenced the incident in his Best Actor acceptance speech for the film King Richard, but later issued a full apology to the Academy.

The statement adds that “Mr. Smith’s actions at the 94th Academy Awards were a deeply shocking and traumatic event to witness in person and on television. Mr. Rock, we apologize for what you experienced on our stage and thank you for your resilience at this time. We also apologize to our nominees, guests and viewers for what happened at what should have been a celebratory event.

Matt TM Kim is IGN’s Managing Editor. You can join it @lawoftd.

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