With each passing day, new details emerge about the altercation between Will Smith and Chris Rock at this week's 94th Academy Awards, which alter the perception of the aftermath of the event. Part of the confusion surrounding the incident is that, after Smith struck Rock, he was allowed to stay at the ceremony to accept a Best Actor award, with reports circulating recently that representatives from The Academy tried to get Smith to leave the event. More recent reports note that, while members of The Academy had hoped Smith would leave the event, he was never directly asked to leave and that there were no plans to forcibly eject him.
Part of the confusion about how the situation was handled came from a statement released on behalf of The Academy itself.
"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," their statement reads. "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."
Despite claiming that "Mr. Smith was asked to leave the ceremony," Deadline claims their sources revealed "that Oscar heavyweights, Academy president David Rubin and CEO Dawn Hudson, had a discussion with Will Smith's rep, bouncing around the idea of the ultimate King Richard Best Actor winner departing the Dolby Theatre. Smith's rep approached the actor with the suggestion, and he reportedly told her via a well-placed source that night, 'I want to make this right, I want to stay and apologize.'"
Understandably, it could be perceived that Smith intended to use a potential acceptance speech to clear the air, though most audiences have noted that he failed to use his time to directly address the situation or specifically apologize to Rock by name.
Another source told the outlet that it wasn't just a suggestion that Smith leave the event, but that it was a "firm ask."
Over at TMZ, they claim their sources at the LAPD weren't contacted about forcibly removing Smith from the event, which seems to corroborate that it was more of a suggestion that he leave as opposed to being a direct request.
As more days go by, surely more details about the incident will emerge to paint a clearer picture of the situation and the aftermath.