The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences said Monday that it condemns Will Smith slapping Chris Rock during Sunday night’s Oscars and that it has started a “formal review” of the incident.
“The Academy condemns the actions of Mr. Smith at last night’s show. 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,” the Academy said in a statement.
The Academy also included its Code of Standards, last updated in 2017 in the wake of the #MeToo movement, which restricts “physical contact that is uninvited” and requires that members treat others with respect.
“Academy members should exhibit appropriate professional conduct in their interactions with all individuals whom they encounter in connection with their professional roles, including colleagues, production staff, and others in the film community,” the code reads. It also notes that anyone violating these actions could be subject to suspension or expulsion of their membership.
TheWrap reported in the immediate aftermath of the Oscars that some Academy governors had expected a formal censure of Smith would be on the horizon. However, Whoopi Goldberg, one of the governors in the Actors branch, said on “The View” on Monday morning that while she expects some consequences, it will not be taking away his Oscar.
The “King Richard” star walked onto the stage after Rock joked that Pinkett Smith, who has alopecia, should star in a “G.I. Jane” sequel due to her bald head.
“Will Smith just smacked the s— out of me,” Rock said to the audience, in a slight state of disbelief, as Smith walked back to his seat.
“Keep my wife’s name out your f—ing mouth,” Smith, back in his seat, yelled in response, to which Rock tried to defend himself, saying: “Wow, dude. It was a f—ing ‘G.I. Jane’ joke.”
Smith once he won the Oscar for Best Actor apologized to the Academy and to his fellow nominees — though not to Rock — and said he hoped that he would be invited back.
“I want to apologize to the Academy, I want to apologize to all my fellow nominees. This is a beautiful moment, and I am not crying for winning an award. It’s not about winning an award for me,” Smith said following a standing ovation. “Art imitates life. I look like the crazy father, just like Richard Williams … but love will make you do crazy things.”
Some Academy members have been expelled in the past, including Harvey Weinstein and Roman Polanski, but no Oscar has ever been revoked from an individual.