Watch CBS News

Did Will Smith's slap violate the Academy's code of conduct — and could he lose his Oscar?

Will Smith slaps Chris Rock on stage at Oscars
Will Smith slaps Chris Rock on stage at Oscars 03:03

Will Smith slapped Chris Rock on stage at the Oscars Sunday night. Just minutes later, he accepted the award for Best Actor — but that award might be affected by his behavior earlier in the evening.

The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, which runs the Oscars, tweeted early Monday that it "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," the tweet continued. 

In a statement later Monday, the academy announced it was now reviewing the incident. "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 statement reads, according to The Associated Press.

Will Smith slaps Chris Rock during Oscars ceremony
Will Smith slaps Chris Rock onstage during the show at the 94th Academy Awards at the Dolby Theatre on Sunday, March 27, 2022. Myung Chun / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

The Academy's code of standards, which was updated in December 2017 in the wake of the Me Too movement, 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." 

The code states the academy is "categorically opposed to any form of abuse, harassment or discrimination," and stipulates that it is no place for "people who abuse their status, power or influence in a manner that violates standards of decency." 

In 2017, when the Me Too movement escalated in Hollywood and other industries, the academy also broke with tradition and made Harvey Weinstein just the second person ever expelled from the Oscars' governing body.

Actor Will Smith accepts the Oscar for Best Actor in a Leading Role for "King Richard" at the 94th Oscars at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood on March 27, 2022. ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images

The code states the academy's board can suspend or expel those who violate the code of conduct or who "compromise the integrity" of the academy.

CBS News has reached out to the academy for more information on the code and if Smith's on-stage slap is considered a violation — and if his award could be taken away. 

Smith apologized to the academy and his fellow nominees during his acceptance speech, but did not mention Rock. 

Rock declined to file a police report against Smith, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. "If the involved party desires a police report at a later date, LAPD will be available to complete an investigative report," police said.

Smith was angry at Rock for making a joke about his wife Jada Pinkett Smith's shaved head. After walking on stage and slapping Rock while he was presenting an award, Smith sat down and yelled a warning at Rock: "Keep my wife's name out of your f***ing mouth."

Rock also targeted the couple in jokes at the 2016 Oscars, which he hosted. 

Pinkett Smith declined to attend the ceremony that year due to the lack of diversity. "Jada's gonna boycott the Oscars?" Rock said during his opening monologue of the show, Entertainment Tonight reported. "Jada boycotting the Oscars is like me boycotting Rihanna's panties. I wasn't invited!"

Rock also joked about Smith, who did not get nominated for his role in "Concussion" that year. "It's not fair that Will was this good and didn't get nominated. You're right," he said. "It's also not fair that Will was paid $20 million for 'Wild Wild West!'"

Pinkett Smith addressed Rock's 2016 monologue days later, according to ET. "Hey look, it comes with the territory, we gotta keep it moving," she said. "We got a lot of stuff we gotta handle, a lot of stuff going on in our world right now. We gotta keep it moving."

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.