The Academy ‘condemns’ Will Smith’s actions & they’ve started a ‘formal review’

by Susan Ryant

Before Will Smith issued his apology yesterday evening (EST), there was already a lot of fuss and drama happening within the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. There were also a lot of high-level conversations about what should have happened within the actual Oscar ceremony following The Smack. The entire mood within the auditorium shifted irrevocably after the Smack, and I’m sure there were conversations in real time about what producers should do about Will and Chris Rock. For what it’s worth, it also felt like everyone (from Oscar attendees to producers) deferred to people like Denzel Washington, who took it upon himself to de-escalate the situation, check in on everyone involved, and most importantly, calm down Will. So what happens now? Well, AMPAS is reviewing and the leadership is talking:

The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences in a statement issued on Monday condemned the actions of best actor winner Will Smith after the “King Richard” star stormed the stage and slapped presenter Chris Rock in the face during Sunday’s Oscars ceremony.

“The Academy condemns the actions of Mr. Smith at last night’s show,” the statement said. “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.”

Earlier on Monday, CNN learned that Academy leadership “strongly considered” removing Smith from the Oscars telecast after the incident, according to a source close to the situation. “Academy leadership strongly considered removing Will Smith from last night’s broadcast following the incident. 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,” the source said.

Following the ceremony, the Academy Awards tweeted a short statement about the on-stage incident that read: “The Academy does not condone violence of any form. 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.”

At least a dozen members of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, the organization behind the Oscars, met virtually on Monday morning to discuss a response to Smith slapping Rock, according to two sources with knowledge of the meeting. The meeting was described as “heated” and “divided.” There was no agreement on further action, according to the sources. The dozen members who met on their own volition and are being described as influential and recognizable members of the Academy, including actors and directors. The group does not have any disciplinary power, but they are considered high profile enough that the Board of Governor’s for the Academy could be influenced in any response they may have.

Some people on the call said the Academy mishandled the incident with its initial tweet. Others feel that the situation was handled properly and no further steps should be taken, according to the sources who spoke to CNN. It’s unclear if the Academy leadership is planning on meeting to discuss the unprecedented situation. CNN has contacted the Academy for further comment. The Academy’s Board of Governors has the power to discipline members who violate their code of conduct through a vote for suspension or expulsion from the Academy.

[From CNN]

Yeah, this is where y’all can leave me. If Oscar producers couldn’t show leadership in the moment to remove Will from the ceremony, then they missed their chance and this post-Oscars show of force makes them look overly punitive. In my opinion! I think what Will Smith did was wrong, even if I understand why he did it and why his emotions were running so high at that moment. There’s absolutely no reason to, what? Suspend Will from attending future Oscar ceremonies? Take away his Oscar? Bullsh-t. Roman Polanski never had his Oscar taken away. Harvey Weinstein hasn’t had his Oscars taken away.

Variety also had a detailed accounting of what was going on behind-the-scenes with the Oscar director and producers during the incident. They claim that Chris Rock’s “GI Jane” joke was improvised and no one had any idea he would say that. I don’t believe that, because they already had a camera on Will and Jada for their reaction to the “joke.” Producers also abdicated their responsibility to do something during the Oscars mostly because Denzel Washington was on it. I’m being completely serious – producers saw that Denzel, Tyler Perry and Bradley Cooper were all working on calming down Will and they were like “okay, so that’s handled.”

Photos courtesy of Instar, Avalon Red and Backgrid.

– Los Angeles, USA -20220327-The 94th Academy Awards-Arrivals -PICTURED: Will Smith, Jada Pinkett Smith -PHOTO by: Abby Grant/Cover Images/INSTARimages.com -Will Smith, Jada Pinkett Smith_4749.jpg This is an editorial, rights-managed image. Please contact Instar Images LLC for licensing fee and rights information at sales@instarimages.com or call +1 212 414 0207 This image may not be published in any way that is, or might be deemed to be, defamatory, libelous, pornographic, or obscene. Please consult our sales department for any clarification needed prior to publication and use. Instar Images LLC reserves the right to pursue unauthorized users of this material. If you are in violation of our intellectual property rights or copyright you may be liable for damages, loss of income, any profits you derive from the unauthorized use of this material and, where appropriate, the cost of collection and/or any statutory damages awarded Tyler Perry, and Oscar® nominees Will Smith and Denzel Washington during the 94th Oscars® at the Dolby Theatre at Ovation Hollywood in Los Angeles, CA, on Sunday, March 27, 2022.,Image: 673515395, License: Rights-managed, Restrictions: Avalon Licensing Ltd. do not claim any Copyright of the attached image WORLD RIGHTS- Fee Payable Upon reproduction – For queries contact Avalon sales@Avalon.red London +44 20 7421 6000 Los Angeles +1 310 822 0419 Berlin +49 30 76 212 251 Madrid +34 91 533, Model Release: no, Credit line: Avalon.red / Avalon Oscar® nominee Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith during the 94th Oscars® at the Dolby Theatre at Ovation Hollywood in Los Angeles, CA, on Sunday, March 27, 2022.,Image: 673515422, License: Rights-managed, Restrictions: Avalon Licensing Ltd. do not claim any Copyright of the attached image WORLD RIGHTS- Fee Payable Upon reproduction – For queries contact Avalon sales@Avalon.red London +44 20 7421 6000 Los Angeles +1 310 822 0419 Berlin +49 30 76 212 251 Madrid +34 91 533, Model Release: no, Credit line: Avalon.red / Avalon Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith during the live ABC telecast of the 94th Oscars® at the Dolby Theatre at Ovation Hollywood in Los Angeles, CA, on Sunday, March 27, 2022.,Image: 673515557, License: Rights-managed, Restrictions: Avalon Licensing Ltd. do not claim any Copyright of the attached image WORLD RIGHTS- Fee Payable Upon reproduction – For queries contact Avalon sales@Avalon.red London +44 20 7421 6000 Los Angeles +1 310 822 0419 Berlin +49 30 76 212 251 Madrid +34 91 533, Model Release: no, Credit line: Avalon.red / Avalon Oscar® nominee Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith arrives on the red carpet of the 94th Oscars® at the Dolby Theatre at the Ovation Hollywood in Los Angeles, CA, on Sunday, March 27, 2022.,Image: 673541241, License: Rights-managed, Restrictions: Avalon Licensing Ltd. do not claim any Copyright of the attached image WORLD RIGHTS- Fee Payable Upon reproduction – For queries contact Avalon sales@Avalon.red London +44 20 7421 6000 Los Angeles +1 310 822 0419 Berlin +49 30 76 212 251 Madrid +34 91 533, Model Release: no, Credit line: Avalon.red / Avalon Will Smith attends the 2022 Vanity Fair Oscar Party Hosted By Radhika Jones celebrating the 94th annual Academy Awards at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on March 27, 2022 in Beverly Hills, California,Image: 673579164, License: Rights-managed, Restrictions: , Model Release: no, Pictured: Will Smith, Credit line: – / JPI Studios / Avalon Will Smith attends the 2022 Vanity Fair Oscar Party Hosted By Radhika Jones celebrating the 94th annual Academy Awards at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on March 27, 2022 in Beverly Hills, California,Image: 673579181, License: Rights-managed, Restrictions: , Model Release: no, Pictured: Will Smith, Credit line: – / JPI Studios / Avalon Jada Pinkett Smith, Willow Smith, Will Smith, Jaden Smith and Trey Smith attends the 2022 Vanity Fair Oscar Party Hosted By Radhika Jones celebrating the 94th annual Academy Awards at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on March 27, 2022 in Beverly Hills, California,Image: 673579577, License: Rights-managed, Restrictions: , Model Release: no, Pictured: Jada Pinkett Smith, Willow Smith, Will Smith, Jaden Smith and Tr, Credit line: – / JPI Studios / Avalon Chris Rock backstage at the live ABC telecast of the 94th Oscars® at the Dolby Theatre at Ovation Hollywood in Los Angeles, CA, on Sunday, March 27, 2022.,Image: 673582761, License: Rights-managed, Restrictions: Avalon Licensing Ltd. do not claim any Copyright of the attached image WORLD RIGHTS- Fee Payable Upon reproduction – For queries contact Avalon sales@Avalon.red London +44 20 7421 6000 Los Angeles +1 310 822 0419 Berlin +49 30 76 212 251 Madrid +34 91 533, Model Release: no, Credit line: Avalon.red / Avalon