Oscars Asked Will Smith to Leave After Chris Rock Slap, Actor Refused

With each passing hour, more news surfaces regarding the slap powering the news cycle throughout the foreseeable future. Despite Will Smith slapping presenter Chris Rock and remaining in the audience to soon collect his first-ever Oscar win for Best Actor, Academy officials now say they asked the actor to leave the ceremony after the confrontation. In a statement released by the body Wednesday afternoon, it's said Smith was asked to leave the Dolby Theatre, except the would-be Oscar-winner refused to leave his seat.

After Smith refused, the Academy says it started "disciplinary proceedings," which can include the actor's expulsion from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

As the statement suggests, Smith has been informed of a two-week window in which he's allowed to be heard before the organization's Board of Governors before a ruling is handed down. The Academy is expected to then take action at the next scheduled board meeting on April 18th.

The Academy's statement can be seen in its entirety below.

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.

Consistent with the Academy's Standards of Conduct, as well as California law, Mr. Smith is being provided at least 15 days' notice of a vote regarding his violations and sanctions and the opportunity to be heard beforehand by means of a written response. At the next board meeting on April 18, the Academy may take any disciplinary action, which may include suspension, expulsion, or other sanctions permitted by the Bylaws and Standards of Conduct.

Mr. Smith's actions at the 94th Oscars were a deeply shocking, traumatic event to witness in-person and on television. Mr. Rock, we apologize to you for what you experienced on our stage and thank you for your resilience in that moment. We also apologize to our nominees, guests and viewers for what transpired during what should have been a celebratory event.

Things unfolded in a way we could not have anticipated. 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.