“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.”
And now, according to AP reporter Zeke Miller, it sounds like Will was actually asked to leave the ceremony following the assault, because he broke the Academy’s code of conduct (which was officially instated in 2017 after all of the Harvey Weinstein controversy), but he refused to leave the show:
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Will Smith broke film academy's code of conduct, was asked but refused to leave Academy Awards, Oscars organization says.
Moments after the aforementioned assault, immediately following a commercial break, Will actually took the stage to accept his Best Actor award for his starring role in the King Richard film.
According to the statement obtained by Fox News, the Academy confirmed that Will was, in fact, asked to leave and did not comply:
“Mr. Smith was asked to leave the ceremony and refused, [but] we also recognize we could have handled the situation differently.”
Of course, most people would’ve been escorted out by LAPD (likely in handcuffs) after a stunt like that, but this is Hollywood, and clearly anything goes if you’re famous enough and have the right connections. Chris also declined to press formal charges at the time.
While there have been people calling for Will to be stripped of his award, that’s unlikely at this point, but the Academy notes there are several consequences on the table up for discussion, including:
“Suspension, expulsion, or other sanctions permitted by the Bylaws and Standards of Conduct.”
The one person we have yet to hear from, though, is Chris himself.
He will make his first public appearance since the incident at a show tonight, as he starts a run of six shows at The Wilbur in Boston, as part of his Ego Death tour.
And to the surprise of absolutely no one, it’s the hottest ticket in town right now:
We sold more tickets to see Chris Rock overnight than we did in the past month combined.