The world is waiting with bated breath to see how The Academy will respond to Will Smith slapping Chris Rock during the 2022 Oscars ceremony, and now it looks like we have that answer. A new report states that The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has launched a "formal review" of the "incident" following worldwide backlash. The Academy initially released a statement in which it 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."
In a more recent statement, a spokesperson for The Academy said the following:
"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 report from Variety notes that at this time it is not expected that Will Smith will have to return the Oscar he just won for Best Actor, for his role as Richard Williams in the biopic King Richard. Smith's portrayal of tennis stars' Venus and Serena Williams' father quickly became intertwined with real-life during the actor's acceptance speech:
"Richard Williams was a fierce defender of his family. In this time in my life, in this moment, I am overwhelmed by what God is calling on me to do and be in this world. Making this film, I got to protect Aunjanue Ellis, who is one of the most strongest, most delicate people I've ever met.
I got to protect Saniyya [Sidney] and Demi [Singleton], the two actresses that played Venus and Serena. I'm being called on in my life to love people. And to protect people. And to be a river to my people. I know to do what we do, you gotta be able to take abuse, you gotta be able to have people talk crazy about you. In this business, you gotta be able to have people disrespecting you. You gotta a smile, and you gotta pretend like that's okay.
I want to apologize to the Academy and I want to apologize to all my fellow nominees -- this is a beautiful moment and I'm not crying about winning an award...it's about being able to shine light."