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Will Smith refused to leave the Oscars after slapping Chris Rock, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences said Wednesday, as the organization began initiating disciplinary proceedings against the actor for violating their code of conduct.
“Things unfolded in a way we could not have anticipated,” the Academy said in a new 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,” the group added.
Sources told TMZ that Smith was asked to leave by two Academy bigwigs, its president David Rubin and CEO Dawn Hudson.
Rubin and Hudson were reportedly “furious” and “apoplectic” at Smith, and the two officials got into a screaming match backstage with the actor’s reps after the viral attack.
The Academy said Smith will be able to defend himself in a written response before the board meets again on April 18.
Disciplinary action for the actor could include expulsion, suspension, or other sanctions.
Smith on Sunday night stormed the stage and smacked Rock before returning to his seat to scream profanity at the presenter, who had made a crack about his wife Jada Pinkett Smith‘s baldness.
After the primetime meltdown, Smith stayed at the award’s ceremony and even received a standing ovation while accepting a Best Actor Oscar for his role in “King Richard.”
In the days since the shocking televised slap, the academy has released numerous statements “condemning” and expressing outrage over Smith’s behavior.
The group on Wednesday continued denouncing Smith.
“Mr. Smith’s actions at the 94th Oscars were a deeply shocking, traumatic event to witness in-person and on television,” the academy said Wednesday.
“Mr. Rock, we apologize to you for what you experienced on our stage and thank you for your resilience in that moment. We also apologize to our nominees, guests and viewers for what transpired during what should have been a celebratory event.”
With Post wires