Although Will Smith may have felt justified in the moment when he smacked Chris Rock, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences clearly feels that his actions were out of line. In their official statement (via Variety), the organization confirms that it tried to take immediate action following the assault. “Things unfolded in a way we could not have anticipated,” the Academy stated. “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.”
Calling the attack “a deeply shocking, traumatic event” for all involved, the Academy extended an apology for all involved. “Mr. Rock, we apologize to you for what you experienced on our stage and thank you for your resilience in that moment,” the statement continued. “We also apologize to our nominees, guests and viewers for what transpired during what should have been a celebratory event.”
The Academy’s Board of Governors will be meeting on April 18, 2022, to discuss next steps, and they may or may not decide to take such disciplinary actions as suspending or expelling Smith from the organization.