After days of debate we now know that yes, Will Smith was indeed asked to leave the Oscar’s ceremony after walking on stage and assaulting Chris Rock. The actor simply refused to do so.
The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences said on Wednesday that he could still face disciplinary actions that could include suspension or expulsion, as well as several other sanctions. They added that the situation was mishandled from many angles.
“Things unfolded in a way we could not have anticipated,” the academy said. “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.”
As the stories continue to be released, after Smith assaulted Rock several other actors — namely Denzel Washington, Bradley Cooper and Tyler Perry — attempted to calm the actor.
The Academy added that Smith would have the opportunity to defend himself (via written response) before the board meets again on April 18.
It also issued a fairly harsh statement, by industry standards.
“Mr. Smith’s actions at the 94th Oscars were a deeply shocking, traumatic event to witness in-person and on television,” the academy said. “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.”
Smith has since apologized to Rock for his behavior.