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Will Smith was asked to leave Oscars but refused, Academy alleges

After slapping Chris Rock, actor Will Smith was asked to leave the Oscars ceremony but refused, Academy Awards officials claimed Wednesday.

"Things unfolded in a way we could not have anticipated," the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences said in a statement. "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."

94th Academy Awards - Show
Will Smith slaps Chris Rock onstage at the 94th Academy Awards at the Dolby Theatre on March 27, 2022.  (Myung Chun/Los Angeles Times/Getty Images)

Variety editor Clayton Davis, who was inside the Dolby Theatre for the ceremony, told CBSLA that if that indeed happened, then the Academy's response in the 40 minutes after the slap was confusing. 

"If that's the case, they let him accept his best actor trophy, speak for five to seven minutes, uninterrupted, didn't try to play him off," Davis said. 

The Academy also said that it has begun "disciplinary proceedings" for Smith.

"The Board of Governors today initiated disciplinary proceedings against Mr. Smith for violations of the Academy's Standards of Conduct, including inappropriate physical contact, abusive or threatening behavior, and compromising the integrity of the Academy," they said in a statement.

The Academy stated that it will vote to discipline Smith during the next board meeting on April 18. Punishments may include suspension or expulsion. Members who have been expelled include Harvey Weinstein, Roman Polanski and Bill Cosby. 

Will Smith issued an apology to Rock Monday, stating that his behavior was "out of line" and "not indicative of the man I want to be." 

Smith's wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, on Tuesday morning posted a brief message to Instagram which read: "This is a season for healing and I'm here for it." 

Rock addressed the situation for the first time Wednesday night at a live show in Boston, the first in a worldwide tour. 

"I don't have like a bunch of s--- about what happened, so if you came to hear that, I have like a whole show I wrote before this weekend," Rock told the raucous crowd. "I'm still kind of processing what happened."

2022 Vanity Fair Oscar Party Hosted By Radhika Jones - Arrivals
Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith attend the 2022 Vanity Fair Oscar Party hosted by Radhika Jones at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on March 27, 2022, in Beverly Hills, Calif. Lionel Hahn / Getty Images

The shocking moment came towards the tail end of Sunday night's telecast, when Rock -- who was presenting the award for best documentary feature -- made a joke about Pinkett Smith.

Rock, referencing Pinkett Smith's bald head, suggested she would be starring in a sequel to the 1997 movie "G.I. Jane."

"Jada, I love you, 'G.I. Jane 2,' can't wait to see it."

Pinkett Smith has talked in the past about having the hair-loss condition alopecia. And her husband, who initially appeared to laugh at the quip, then lumbered on stage and slapped Rock.

"Will Smith just smacked the s--- out of me," Rock told the crowd, who initially laughed, thinking it was a bit.

Smith returned to his seat, then yell at Rock twice, "keep my wife's name out of your f----- mouth."

Minutes later, Smith won the best actor award for his portrayal of Richard Williams, the father of Venus and Serena Williams, in "King Richard."

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