Five days after Will Smith slapped Chris Rock on stage at the Oscars, conflicting reports have emerged over whether the "King Richard" star was asked to leave the awards show following the stunning moment.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which runs the Oscars, said in a statement on Monday, "Mr. Smith was asked to leave the ceremony and refused."
However, a source at the show told NBC News that the official decision came from one of the show's producers, who ultimately asked Smith to stay. Smith has not responded to a request for comment by TODAY.
Smith returned to his seat and loudly cursed Rock after smacking the comedian when Rock made a joke about Smith's wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. He then took the stage less than an hour later to accept the best actor award for his role in "King Richard."
“They were saying, you know, this is battery, was the word they use in that moment,” Packer said. “They said, we will go get him. We are prepared. We’re prepared to get him right now. You can press charges. We can arrest him.
"They were laying out the options, and as they were talking, Chris was — he was being very dismissive of those options. He was like, ‘No, I’m fine.’ He was like, ‘no, no, no.’”
The LAPD said on Monday that Rock declined to file a police report.
An apologetic Smith met with leaders of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts Sciences for about 30 minutes via Zoom on Tuesday, according to a report by Variety on Thursday that cited individuals with knowledge of the matter. The Academy would not confirm the report.
The Academy's Board of Governors said in a statement Wednesday that a formal review is underway and that Smith could face “suspension, expulsions or other sanctions" for violating the Academy's standards of conduct, which include "inappropriate physical contact, abusive or threatening behavior, and compromising the integrity of the Academy.”
Smith, who issued an apology to Rock and others on Monday, now has two weeks to issue a statement to the board explaining his actions.
The actor walked on stage and smacked Rock after Rock made a "G.I. Jane" joke about Pinkett Smith, who has been open about her struggles with alopecia and hair loss. Demi Moore shaves her head in the 1997 movie as she undergoes military training.
Rock has largely avoided talking about the incident while playing a round of sold-out shows at The Wilbur in Boston this week.
On Thursday night, he shut down an audience member who cursed Smith, according to People. Rock said at his show on Wednesday that he is "still processing what happened."