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Academy ‘condemns’ Will Smith’s actions at Oscars, launches formal review of Chris Rock incident

The academy announced that it has "started a formal review" of Smith after the "King Richard" star slapped comedian Chris Rock at the 2022 Oscars.
Will Smith
Will Smith walks offstage after accepting his best actor award during the 94th Annual Academy Awards on Sunday night.A.M.P.A.S. via Getty Images

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the organization that runs the Oscars, has condemned Will Smith's actions toward comedian Chris Rock at the 94th Academy Awards on Sunday night.

"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 organization told NBC News in a statement on Monday afternoon.

In one of the most chaotic Oscars ceremonies in history, Smith accepted the Oscar for best actor less than an hour after he approached the stage to slap comedian Chris Rock following a joke Rock told about Smith's wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, regarding her shaved head.

While accepting his award, one of the night's most prestigious, Smith received a standing ovation from his Hollywood peers inside the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. In a tearful speech, the actor said he wants to be a "vessel for love."

"Love will make you do crazy things," he said.

Will Smith
Will Smith delivered a tearful acceptance speech less than an hour after slapping comedian Chris Rock for joking about Jada Pinkett Smith's baldness. Robyn Beck / AFP - Getty Images

The former “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” star also apologized to the academy and his fellow best actor nominees for his behavior. He did not mention Rock.

The academy’s standards of conduct for members expressly forbid "intimidation, stalking, abusive or threatening behavior, or bullying."

The conduct code states that academy members who violate its terms could be subject to “disciplinary action.”

“If any member is found by the Academy to have violated these standards or to have compromised the integrity of the Academy by their actions — whether in a professional or non- professional setting— the Academy may take any disciplinary action permitted by the Academy’s Bylaws, up to and including suspension of membership or expulsion from membership."

During Sunday’s ceremony, viewers took to Twitter to voice their opinions about Smith’s behavior and the response of his fellow actors. Celebrities have also added their two cents to the conversation.

Some applauded Smith for defending his wife — Pinkett Smith has been vocal about her struggle with alopecia, which has caused hair loss — while others were livid that the “King Richard” star resorted to violence.

Early Monday, the academy tweeted that it “does not condone violence of any form" but had not further commented until now.

As for Rock, who has known Smith and Pinkett Smith since the 1990s and has joked about them onstage in the past, he has opted not to press charges against Smith.

The Los Angeles Police Department told NBC News in a statement after the ceremony that it was aware of the incident.

“The individual involved has declined to file a police report. If the involved party desires a police report at a later date, LAPD will be available to complete an investigative report,” the statement said.