Will Smith-Chris Rock row: Academy condemns slap, says will take action

Will Smith-Chris Rock row: Academy condemns slap, says will take action

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), the body which organizes the Oscars, has said that it is upset over Hollywood star Will Smith’s behaviour during the 2022 Oscars ceremony during which he slapped actor-comedian Chris Rock on stage.

In a letter sent to Academy members, AMPAS president David Rubin and CEO Dawn Hudson has assured that “appropriate action” will be taken over the incident following an official process that would take a few weeks.

At the 94th Academy Awards on Sunday, an enraged Smith stepped up to the stage to take a swing at Rock over a joke that the comic cracked on the King Richard star’s wife Jada Pinkett-Smith.

“Sunday’s telecast of the 94th Oscars was meant to be a celebration of the many individuals in our community who did incredible work this past year. We are upset and outraged that those moments were overshadowed by the unacceptable and harmful behaviour on stage by a nominee,” the AMPAS letter read.

Will Smith won the best actor award at the 94th Academy Awards on Sunday for his role in King Richard.

“To be clear, we condemn Mr. Smith’s actions that transpired Sunday night. As outlined in our bylaws, the Academy’s Board of Governors will now make a determination on appropriate action for Mr. Smith. As governed by California law regarding members of nonprofit organizations like the Academy, and set forth in our Standards of Conduct, this must follow an official process that will take a few weeks,” the letter read.

The incident on Sunday started when Rock came on stage to announce the winners for best documentary feature award and made a tasteless joke about Pinkett-Smith, saying she could star in the sequel to G.I. Jane, in an apparent reference to her cropped hairstyle because of the autoimmune disorder alopecia.

An enraged Smith went up and hit Rock on the face, leaving the audience members as well as millions of viewers of the ceremony shocked. While receiving the best actor trophy later, Smith apologised to the Oscars organisers in his acceptance speech but not to Rock, who declined to press charges against Smith.

On Monday, the Bad Boys star publicly tendered an apology to Rock on Instagram.

The letter further stated that it will continue to update the members on “any developments, but we also ask that you respect your Board, Academy staff and the process as this unfolds so it can work in the considered way it was intended and mandated”.

“Please trust that the Board of Governors will conduct this process in a manner that is both expedient and respectful of all involved while maintaining the standards of the Academy,” the letter concluded.

In the immediate aftermath of the slapgate controversy, the Academy had condemned Smith’s actions and later launched a formal review into the incident that will go down as one of the most shocking moments in Oscars’ history.

(With inputs from agencies)

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