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A full meeting of the Academy’s board of governors has been called for Wednesday evening, where the matter of Smith slapping presenter Chris Rock onstage at the ceremony is expected to be topic number one, The Hollywood Reporter has learned exclusively.
The decision comes just hours after the officers of the Academy’s board of governors — including president David Rubin and CEO Dawn Hudson — convened Monday for an emergency phone call about the incident. Shortly thereafter, the Academy issued a statement declaring: “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 first post-Oscars board meeting always features a postmortem of the ceremony and addresses issues that arose during the show but does not usually happen this soon after the ceremony.
Some sanction of Smith is likely — perhaps a suspension of his Academy membership, as some members are calling for, but, in all likelihood, not the revocation of his best actor Oscar, as others would like to see. (Even Harvey Weinstein’s and Roman Polanski’s Oscars were never rescinded.)
Whoopi Goldberg, a member of the board of governors who’s also an Oscar winner and former host, said as much on The View on Monday: “We’re not going to take that Oscar from him. There will be consequences, I’m sure, but I don’t think that’s what they’ll do.”
During Sunday night’s live telecast, Smith, in response to a joke aimed at his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, walked up onstage and slapped Rock in one of the most shocking moments in the history of the awards show.
The comic made a G.I. Jane joke about Pinkett Smith, who has a shaved head (the actress has alopecia).
When Smith returned to his seat, Rock marveled to the audience that “Will Smith just smacked the shit out of me.” Once back in his seat, Smith yelled to Rock, “Keep my wife’s name out of your fucking mouth!”
When Rock told Smith, “Wow, dude, it was a G.I. Jane joke,” Smith repeated himself.
The expletives were censored for U.S. audiences but were shared unedited on social media. Shortly thereafter, Smith was named best actor winner for King Richard and while receiving his first-ever Oscar, he apologized to the Academy and his fellow nominees; he did not, however, mention Rock.
After the show, the Academy tweeted a statement, saying it “does not condone violence of any form.”
Smith and Rock attended separate afterparties — with Smith saying it’s been a “beautiful night” while dancing at the Vanity Fair Oscar party; Rock was spotted at Guy Oseary’s afterparty. The Los Angeles Police Department confirmed that Rock declined to file a police report.
Producer Will Packer, taking to Twitter on Monday, called the moment “very painful moment for me. On many levels.”
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