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Movies & TV

28th Mar 2022

Academy Awards condemn Will Smith slap incident as investigation launched

Dave Hanratty

Will Smith Chris Rock

The fallout from ‘the slap heard around the world’ continues.

Will Smith has been officially condemned by the organisers of the 94th annual Academy Awards.

The censure follows a dramatic onstage incident in which Smith confronted Chris Rock after the latter made a joke at Jade Pinkett-Smith’s expense.

What followed was ‘the slap heard around the world’ as Smith physically struck Rock across the face before calmly returning to his front-row seat.

Once there, Smith twice shouted:

“Keep my wife’s name out [of] your fucking mouth.”

A bemused Rock did his best to recover before he finally got around to presenting the Oscar for Best Documentary.

If you’ve been living under a rock all day long, here’s how it went down:

Response to Smith’s outburst has proved mixed, with some of the mind that he was perfectly right to defend his wife’s honour.

Others have taken the viewpoint that violence is simply never the answer.

It has also been pointed out that this isn’t the first time that Rock has taken a jab in Pinkett-Smith’s direction, while the overall relationship between the stars is arguably quite complicated.

In any event, the Academy Awards tweeted a brief statement following the conclusion of the telecast, which read:

“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.”

Smith was not ejected from the ceremony following the altercation and would later go on to win his first ever Oscar for his performance in King Richard.

Variety notes that there are no provisions in place during the event to address an instance of open-handed slapping across a person’s face, thus no action was taken.

Debate has rumbled since the incident, with some critics and fans positing that Smith should be forced to surrender his award for Best Actor.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has yet to weigh in on that element, though it has issued a new statement on Monday evening, noting that a formal review is underway.

“The Academy condemns the actions of Mr Smith at last night’s show,” begins the statement shared by the Hollywood Reporter.

“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.”

It is understood that the situation will be properly addressed at the next full meeting of the Academy’s board of governors.

Smith made a point of apologising to the Academy and his fellow acting nominees during his emotional acceptance speech, though he did not offer an apology to Rock.

“Art imitates life,” Smith joked at one point.

“I look like the crazy father, just like they said about Richard Williams. Love will make you do crazy things.”