In a just-released statement, The Academy said it “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.”
According to THR, Smith faces possible suspension from the Academy. Revocation of his best actor Oscar is considered a less likely option.
In case you’ve been living under an XXL rock the past 24 hours, the heated moment between Rock and Smith occurred about two-and-a-half hours into ABC’s Oscar broadcast on Sunday night. While presenting Best Documentary Feature, Rock quipped, “Jada, I love ya. GI Jane 2 — can’t wait to see it,” directing his comments at Jada Pinkett Smith, who is bald and who has previously spoken publicly about her hair loss condition, alopecia.
Though Smith appeared to laugh at the joke at first, Pinkett Smith rolled her eyes and appeared displeased. Soon after, Smith walked up to the stage and took a swing at Rock. “Wow, Will Smith just smacked the s–t out of me,” Rock said. Then Smith, who had returned to his seat, yelled from the audience, “Keep my wife’s name out your f–king mouth” and repeated it after Rock protested that the dig had just been a joke.
Smith went on to clinch the Best Actor award, addressing the incident (albeit indirectly) in his acceptance speech. “Denzel [Washington] said to me, ‘At your highest moment, be careful — that’s when the devil comes for you,” he said through tears, before adding, “I want to apologize to the Academy. I want to apologize to my fellow nominees.”
In the aftermath of the altercation on Sunday, the Academy released a decidedly tepid statement insisting it “does not condone violence of any form.”
Rock has thus far decided not to file a police report. Should Smith be charged at any point with simple assault, which is classified as a misdemeanor in the state of California, he would potentially face up to six months in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000.