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31st Mar 2022

Will Smith was asked to leave Oscars but refused to leave, Academy says

Hugh Carr

The actor remained in the front row after slapping Chris Rock.

The controversy around Will Smith’s actions at the 94th Academy Awards continues, as it was revealed that Smith had been asked to leave the auditorium following the slap heard around the world.

Smith attacked host Chris Rock following a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith’s appearance on Sunday (27 March).

The joke was in reference to Jada’s shaved head following a diagnosis of alopecia.

Moments after the joke, Will rose from his seat and made his way towards Rock, slapping him before returning to his seat.

Questions were raised as to why Smith was allowed to remain in the theatre following the assault.

As reported by Associated Press, the Academy revealed that they had made an attempt to remove Smith.

“Things unfolded in a way we could not have anticipated,” the Academy said in a statement.

“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.”

Moments after the incident, Smith apologised first to the Academy and his fellow nominees during his acceptance speech for Best Actor.

“To the Academy, I want to apologise to all my fellow nominees,” Smith said.

“Art imitates life. I look like the crazy father, just like they said about Richard Williams.

“Love will make you do crazy things.

“Thank you for this moment, and thank you on behalf of Richard and Oracene and the Williams family.

“I hope the Academy invites me back,” he concluded.

He then apologised to Chris Rock on social media on Monday evening (28 March).

“Violence in all of its forms is poisonous and destructive,” Smith wrote.

“My behavior at last night’s Academy Awards was unacceptable and inexcusable.”

A disciplinary investigation is currently underway, into potential violations of the Academy’s Standards of Conduct.

These include inappropriate physical contact, abusive or threatening behaviour, and compromising the integrity of the Academy, it said.