Academy Dragged After Claiming Will Smith Was Asked to Leave the Oscars: ‘Asked by Whom?’

The Motion Picture Academy’s board said Wednesday the “King Richard” star “refused” to leave Sunday’s ceremony

Will Smith at the Oscars 2022 (Getty Images)
Will Smith at the Oscars 2022 (Getty Images)

Hollywood insiders and others are having a blast dragging the Academy of Motion Picture Art and Sciences board on Twitter for stating it “asked” Will Smith to leave the ceremony, which it says the star “refused” to do. 

Earlier Wednesday, the Academy said it had begun disciplinary hearings against the Oscar-winning “King Richard” star after his on-stage slapping of Chris Rock (who made a joke directed at Jada Pinkett Smith’s hair, despite her alopecia diagnosis), adding that Smith could face various sanctions for violating code of conduct, including suspension and expulsion.  

“Things unfolded in a way we could not have anticipated,” the Academy said in a statement. “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 didn’t take long for people to chime in with their thoughts, offering bewilderment at the organization’s inability to properly lead its own ceremony. “This might be even worse, if true or not exaggerated,” one Twitter user wrote. “The Academy made a decision, failed to execute it, then continued on?!?!”

“Academy now says it ‘asked’ Will Smith to leave #Oscars but doesn’t say how,” said Puck News founding partner Matthew Belloni. “Suggesting to a publicist is NOT the same as the show producer or Academy president walking over and respectfully telling him what needs to happen.”

See other reaction below.

The Academy will reconvene April 15 to determine its next course of action, and Smith will be given 15 days’ notice prior to a vote regarding possible sanctions, as well as the ability to be heard through a written response.

The actor has since apologized to the Academy, Rock, viewers and attendees, saying, “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.”