Academy condemns Will Smith and opens formal review into Oscars slap

Will Smith
(Image credit: Lionel Hahn/Getty Images)

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has launched a formal review after Will Smith smacked Chris Rock live on stage at the Oscars.

The Academy on Monday said it "condemns" Smith's actions at Sunday's awards 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 group added.

Earlier on Monday, the Academy said it "does not condone violence of any form," but received criticism for the vague response that did not actually mention Smith by name.

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

During the Oscars ceremony, Smith slapped Rock after the comedian made a joke about the actor's wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. The King Richard star later won the Oscar for Best Actor and apologized to the Academy, but not to Rock.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, members of the Academy's board of governors will hold an emergency phone call on Monday. "Some sanction of Smith is likely to come — perhaps the suspension of his Academy membership ... but not the revocation of his best actor Oscar," the Reporter writes.

Smith's actions have drawn a wave of criticism directed both at the actor and the Academy, with radio host Howard Stern asking why security didn't get involved. Others have questioned why the Academy did not remove Smith from the ceremony.

CNN reported Academy leadership "strongly considered" removing Smith. "There were immediate discussions but the Academy decision makers were seated in various spots in the Dolby Theater and couldn't mobilize to make a decision before he won best actor," a source told CNN. People also cited a source as saying "having Will removed was definitely discussed seriously."

Oscars producer Will Packer said Monday the incident was "a very painful moment for me."

Continue reading for free

We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.

Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.

Brendan Morrow

Brendan is a staff writer at The Week. A graduate of Hofstra University with a degree in journalism, he also writes about horror films for Bloody Disgusting and has previously contributed to The Cheat Sheet, Heavy, WhatCulture, and more. He lives in New York City surrounded by Star Wars posters.