Members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) were surprised to learn that actor Will Smith was asked to leave the building after slapping presenter Chris Rock.
Smith walked onstage and slapped Rock after the comedian made a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith’s hair loss during the 2022 Oscars Awards on March 27.
After slapping Rock, Smith returned to his seat and screamed profanity, as the room full of well-heeled superstars sat in stunned silence.
The Academy issued a statement acknowledging that Smith refused to leave the building when asked – and that they should have handled the situation differently (by forcing him to leave).
“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,” the Academy said on Wednesday.
Members attended an urgent Zoom meeting of the AAMPAS’ Board of Governors on Wednesday to decide whether to pursue disciplinary action against the Oscar winner.
They were shocked to learn that Smith was asked to leave the building but he refused and sat in the front row with his wife for another 45 minutes before receiving the Best Actor Oscar.
“It was a real shocker,” one insider told Deadline.com.
More than 50% of the board – including Whoopi Goldberg and Steven Spielberg – voted for some form of disciplinary action – including suspension or expulsion from the Academy.
The actual vote will take place in April.
Consistent with the Academy’s Standards of Conduct, as well as California law, Smith will be given at least 15 days’ notice of a vote regarding his violations and sanctions. He will have the opportunity to be heard beforehand by means of a written response.