The Academy has announced they will be opening an investigation into the altercation between Will Smith and Chris Rock, which happened live during the Academy Awards ceremony on March 27. The incident happened while comedy movie actor Chris Rock was presenting the Best Documentary category.
Making reference to Jada Pinkett-Smith’s shaved head — which the actor said last year was the result of alopecia — Rock joked that he would see her in the sequel for the thriller G.I. Jane. Shortly after making the joke, Smith went on stage and appeared to strike Rock across the face before returning to his seat, with Rock saying, “Will Smith just slapped the shit out of me!”
Smith then yelled from his seat, “Keep my wife’s name, out your fucking mouth!” Fifteen minutes later, Smith won Best Actor for his role in the drama movie King Richard: using his acceptance speech to apologize to the Academy and said he hoped he would be invited back to future ceremonies. He later also apologized to Rock via a statement on social media, writing, “My behaviour at last night’s Academy Awards was unacceptable and inexcusable.”
Shortly after the incident, the Academy shared a statement on their official Twitter, which said, “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.”
However, following a meeting with the Academy’s board of governors, the film academy announced in a statement released Monday that they would be conducting a formal review into Will Smith’s behaviour. “The Academy condemns the actions of Mr. Smith at last night’s show,” the statement read. “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 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences introduced a Code of Conduct for its members in 2017 following the Harvey Weinstein scandal.