The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences released a statement on Monday, saying it condemns Will Smith’s actions during the show on at the in . The Academy also said it is launching a formal review into the incident.
On Sunday evening, Disney-owned ABC aired the 94th Academy Awards live, but no one could have predicted the display that took place between comedian Chris Rock and actor Will Smith.
Comedian Chris Rock stood up to present the award for Best Documentary, but before he got to the nominees, Rock saw Will Smith and his wife Jada Pinkett Smith seated in the front row and commented about Pinkett Smith’s shaved head.“Jada, I love you,” Chris Rock began, “‘GI Jane 2,’ can’t wait to see it, all right?”
The camera was on Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith after Rock’s comments; she was rolling her eyes, and he was smiling. But within seconds, Will Smith took to the stage and approached Chris Rock. Suddenly, he reached out and slapped Chris Rock across the face and then returned to his seat in the front row.
Once Smith returned to his seat, he yelled back to Chris Rock, who responded, saying he was only making a GI Jane joke, to which Smith responded with the same words he had just yelled to Rock, but this time, they were heard ’round the world:
“Keep my wife’s name out of your (expletive) mouth!” Smith shouted to Chris Rock, who was visibly shaken by the exchange and confused by what had transpired.
“The Academy condemns the actions of Mr. Smith at last night’s show,” the film academy said in a statement. “We have officially started a formal review around the incident and will explore further action and consequences in accordance with our bylaws, standards of conduct, and California law.”
In a tweet on Monday, the Academy said it “does not condone violence of any form.”
The Academy does not condone violence of any form.
Tonight we are delighted to celebrate our 94th Academy Awards winners, who deserve this moment of recognition from their peers and movie lovers around the world.
— The Academy (@TheAcademy) March 28, 2022
According to the Los Angeles Police Department, Rock has declined to press charges against Smith for the attack. But authorities pointed out that a lack of charges now doesn’t preclude Rock from filing charges at a later time. The Los Angeles Police Department also issued a statement about the incident, which reads:
“LAPD investigative entities are aware of an incident between two individuals during the Academy Awards program,” said a spokesperson with the Los Angeles Police Department. “The incident involved one individual slapping another. The individual involved has declined to file a police report. If the involved party desires a police report at a later date, LAPD will be available to complete an investigative report.”
It remains to be seen what consequences, if any, will be handed down to Will Smith for his actions. The Academy says it will conduct a review of the incident and then determine its further actions based on the film academy’s bylaws.