To recap quickly, Chris made a joke about Will’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith (who was also in the audience) while introducing the nominees for Best Documentary. He poked fun at Jada (who has been open about her hair-loss struggle) starring in the next GI Jane movie (GI Jane is bald).
Will seemingly laughed at the joke, realized Jada wasn’t having it, and proceeded to march onto the stage, slap Chris, return to his seat, and yell:
“Keep my wife’s name out of your fucking mouth.”
Later that night, Will won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his role in King Richard, a story about Richard Williams, the father of tennis legends Venus and Serena Williams. He delivered a tear-soaked, emotional speech about his call to protect and defend those around him.
And now, it appears that the film academy will be opening an investigation relating to the incident.
According to the LA Times, the organization is already looking into it:
“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 of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences enacted a code of conduct for its members several years ago in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein sexual harassment scandal, saying, in part:
“There is no place in the Academy for people who abuse their status, power or influence in a manner that violates recognized standards of decency.
If any member is found by the Board of Governors to have violated these standards or to have compromised the integrity of the Academy by their actions, the Board of Governors may take any disciplinary action permitted by the Academy’s bylaws, including suspension or expulsion.”
Though they typically do a post-production meeting on the show every year, this year, they called an emergency meeting for Monday morning to discuss their next steps.
The investigation is still pending, but many people on social media have called for Will to be stripped of his Academy Award for Best Actor that he won just minutes after the incident last night.
And in case you missed it, the slap heard around the world: