The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced Wednesday that it is beginning disciplinary proceedings against actor Will Smith after he slapped Chris Rock on stage at Sunday night’s Oscars event.
The group also revealed that Smith refused to leave the awards ceremony following the altercation despite being asked.
“The Board of Governors today initiated disciplinary proceedings against Mr. Smith for violations of the Academy’s Standards of Conduct, including inappropriate physician contact, abusive or threatening behavior, and compromising the integrity of the Academy,” the Academy wrote in a statement reported by The Hollywood Reporter.
The organization said Smith will be notified at least 15 days in advance of a vote on his violations and penalties, which is consistent with the Academy’s Standards of Conduct and California law. The actor will have the opportunity to provide a written response.
The next board meeting for the Academy is on April 18, when the group “may take any disciplinary action.” Potential penalties include suspension, expulsion or other sanctions allowed in the group’s bylaws.
The Academy said Smith had been asked to leave the awards ceremony following the altercation but refused. The organization noted that it could have dealt with the situation “differently.”
“Things unfolded in a way we could not have anticipated. 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 Academy wrote.
Smith drew widespread attention Sunday evening when he walked onstage at the Oscars awards ceremony and slapped Rock after the comedian made a joke about his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith.
Smith, who went on to win the Best Actor award that evening for his role in “King Richard,” issued a formal apology the next day, calling his behavior “unacceptable and inexcusable.”
The Academy on Wednesday called Smith’s actions “a deeply shocking, traumatic event to witness in-person and on television.” The group also apologize to Rock for the incident, and thanked him for his “resilience.”
“Mr. Rock, we apologize to you for what you experienced on our stage and thank you for your resilience in that moment,” the Academy wrote. “We also apologize to our nominees, guests and viewers for what transpired during what should have been a celebratory event.”
The incident began when Rock, who was presenting an award at the event, said “Jada, I love ya. ‘G.I. Jane 2,’ can’t wait to see it,” referring to Pinkett Smith, who sports a bald head like the character in the 1997 film “G.I. Jane.”
Pinkett Smith revealed in 2018 that she was diagnosed with alopecia, a disease that leads to hair loss.