Could newly minted Oscar winner Will Smith be stripped of his trophy? That’s a possibility following an altercation prior to his Best Actor victory where he rushed the stage and hit comedian Chris Rock for making a joke about his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences released a statement the day after the Sunday, March 27, telecast reading: “The Academy condemns the actions of Mr. Smith at last night’s show. 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 organization has a code of conduct for members, which was updated in December 2017 in the wake of the #MeToo movement. It asks its members to behave ethically and uphold the Academy’s “values of respect for human dignity, inclusion and a supportive environment that fosters creativity.”
In a tweet following the shocking incident, which occurred during the live telecast, the organization said that it “does not condone violence of any form.” It did not address any repercussions to Smith because of the onstage slap.
The Academy’s tweet wasn’t enough for some stars, as actress and comedian Rosie O’Donnell responded directly, asking, “Then why did you do NOTHING?” about the altercation. Several other celebrities had similar reactions asking why Smith wasn’t asked to leave the ceremony and instead was allowed to return to his seat, where he hurled several F-bombs at Rock, who remained on stage.
The Los Angeles Police Department later tweeted that Rock declined to press charges against Smith for slapping him and that, “If the involved party desires a police report at a later date, LAPD will be available to complete an investigative report.”
E.G.O.T. winner Whoopi Goldberg doesn’t believe that Smith will be stripped of his Oscar despite his conduct. During The View on Monday, March 28, she said, “We’re not going to take that Oscar from him,” adding, “There will be consequences I’m sure, but I don’t think that’s what they’re going to do, particularly because Chris said ‘Listen, I’m not pressing any charges.’”
Rock was onstage making jokes about members of the audience and got to Pinkett Smith, who shaved her head in 2021 after losing her hair to the condition alopecia. He snarked to the Red Table Talk host, “Jada, can’t wait for G.I. Jane 2.” While her husband was initially seen laughing, Pinkett Smith rolled her eyes in disgust. Shortly thereafter, Smith walked on stage and slapped Rock across the face with an open hand.
When he returned to his seat, Smith yelled to Rock, “Keep my wife’s name out your f—king mouth.” When the comedian responded, “Wow, dude. It was a G.I. Jane joke,” Smith repeated himself with the same expletive. He later went on to be crowned Best Actor for his role in King Richard and during his acceptance speech stated, “I want to apologize to the Academy. I want to apologize to all my fellow nominees” but failed to apologize to Rock for the incident.
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