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Academy Says Will Smith Was Asked to Leave Oscar Ceremony But Refused

The Academy’s board met today to begin disciplinary hearings against the “King Richard” actor, which could include expulsion

The Motion Picture Academy said Wednesday after beginning disciplinary hearings that Will Smith was asked to leave the Oscars ceremony but “refused.”

The statement said that Smith could face suspension, expulsion or other sanctions based on its standards of conduct.

“Things unfolded in a way we could not have anticipated. 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 in a statement.

The Academy will determine at its next board meeting on April 15 how to take disciplinary action, and Smith will be given at least 15 days notice of a vote regarding his violations and sanctions, as well as an opportunity to be heard via written response, according to the statement.

It’s unclear when Smith would have been asked to leave the Oscars ceremony. TheWrap has reached out to Smith’s representatives for comment.

Smith, who won Best Actor for his work in “King Richard,” is now in Day 3 of the fallout over his shocking slap of presenter Chris Rock after the comedian made a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith starring in “G.I. Jane 2” due to her shaved head. He then could be heard twice shouting at Rock from his seat, “Keep my wife’s name out your f—ing mouth.”

Smith on Monday publicly apologized to both the Academy and to Rock, 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.”

Read the Academy’s full statement below:

The Board of Governors today initiated disciplinary proceedings against Mr. Smith for violations of the Academy’s Standards of Conduct, including inappropriate physical contact, abusive or threatening behavior, and compromising the integrity of the Academy.

Consistent with the Academy’s Standards of Conduct, as well as California law, Mr. Smith is being provided at least 15 days’ notice of a vote regarding his violations and sanctions, and the opportunity to be heard beforehand by means of a written response. At the next board meeting on April 18, the Academy may take any disciplinary action, which may include suspension, expulsion, or other sanctions permitted by the Bylaws and Standards of Conduct.

Mr. Smith’s actions at the 94th Oscars were a deeply shocking, traumatic event to witness in-person and on television. Mr. Rock, we apologize to you for what you experienced on our stage and thank you for your resilience in that moment. We also apologize to our nominees, guests and viewers for what transpired during what should have been a celebratory event.

Things unfolded in a way we could not have anticipated. 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.

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