the plot continues to thicken
The team behind this year's Oscars has been accused of lying about the Will Smith slap debacle for a second consecutive day.
On Friday's Good Morning America, 2022 Oscars producer Will Packer claimed Smith was not removed from the ceremony after slapping comedian Chris Rock because Rock himself didn't want him to be.
"They were about to physically remove Will Smith," Packer said. "I immediately went to the Academy leadership that was on site, and I said, 'Chris Rock doesn't want that.' I said, 'Rock has made it clear that he does not want to make a bad situation worse.'"
Packer added, "I was advocating what Rock wanted in that time, which was not to physically remove Will Smith."
But not long after the interview aired, TMZ published an article alleging "that's a lie," citing sources close to Rock claiming "that was NEVER said." Instead, a TMZ source said Rock only told Packer he would not press charges against Smith.
Similarly, Deadline reported Packer never asked Rock whether he wanted Smith removed, and "Packer is conflating this from a conversation that happened after Smith slapped him onstage, where Rock told Packer he did not want to press charges." Puck's Matthew Belloni backed up these reports, tweeting, "No, Chris Rock never told Will Packer he wanted Will Smith to stay."
That made this the second day in a row that the team behind the Oscars was accused of making misleading statements about what happened behind the scenes on Sunday. The Academy previously claimed Smith "was asked to leave the ceremony and refused," only for multiple reports to say Smith was actually not formally asked to leave.
Packer also revealed on GMA that the Los Angeles Police Department was prepared to arrest Smith at the show for battery. But according to Packer, Rock was "dismissive" of this idea.