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As Hollywood deals with the fallout of Will Smith slapping Chris Rock on the 2022 Oscars stage, shortly before Smith won the best actor Oscar for his role in King Richard, many observers have wondered whether the Motion Picture Academy will take away Smith’s Oscar.
While the Academy hasn’t given any indications to that effect, one of the members of its board of governors, The View co-host Whoopi Goldberg, who’s also an Oscar winner and former host, voiced her own thoughts on the fate of Smith’s Oscar.
“We’re not going to take that Oscar from him,” she said during a “Hot Topics” segment about the Academy Awards. “There will be consequences, I’m sure, but I don’t think that’s what they’ll do — particularly because Chris said, ‘Listen, I’m not pressing any charges.'”
Earlier, Goldberg theorized on what may have provoked Smith’s behavior. “I think it was a lot of stuff probably built up,” she said, noting there had been numerous jokes about Smith and wife Jada Pinkett Smith over the past few years, including Rock’s 2016 jabs. “I think he had one of those moments where it was just like, ‘Just stop.’ I get it, not everybody acts the way we would like them to under pressure. Some people just snap. He snapped.”
Goldberg praised the show overall, including the work of its three hosts — Regina Hall, Amy Schumer and Wanda Sykes — and producer Will Packer.
Following Smith’s public apology to Rock — and the news that the Academy has called for a meeting with its full Board of Governors on Wednesday — Goldberg still suggested “big consequences” for Smith on Tuesday’s The View. “There are big consequences because nobody is OK with what happened. Nobody, nobody, nobody,” she said, adding that she wasn’t going to elaborate on what the Academy was considering.
She also responded to questions surrounding the lack of response from the show’s producers during the live show after Smith slapped Rock. “That would have been another 15-to-20-minute explanation of why we’re taking a Black man out five seconds before they’re about to decide whether he won an Oscar or not,” she said. “I believe Will Packer made the right decision; he said, ‘Let’s get through the rest of this so we can deal with it wholeheartedly.’”
In December of 2017, following its expulsion of Harvey Weinstein, the Academy’s board of governors approved new “Standards of Conduct” that state that “members must also behave ethically by upholding the Academy’s values of respect for human dignity, inclusion, and a supportive environment that fosters creativity. The Academy asks that members embrace their responsibility to affirm these principles and act when these principles are violated. 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. The Academy is categorically opposed to any form of abuse, harassment or discrimination on the basis of gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, disability, age, religion or nationality. The Board of Governors believes that these standards are essential to the Academy’s mission and reflective of our values.”
Beyond that, the Academy says, “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.”
After removing Weinstein, the Academy also expelled Bill Cosby and Roman Polanski. Prior to Weinstein, it had only expelled one member, Carmine Caridi, for violating its policy against sharing screeners.
In a statement after the Oscars last night, the Academy said it “does not condone violence of any form.”
The organization added, via Twitter, “Tonight we are delighted to celebrate our 94th Academy Awards winners, who deserve this moment of recognition from their peers and movie lovers around the world.”
The Academy issued a more strongly worded statement on Monday saying it “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.”
Jackie Strause contributed to this story.
March 29, 10:16 a.m. This story has been updated to include Goldberg’s comments on Tuesday’s View.
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