Academy Says 'Formal Review' of Will Smith Slapping Chris Rock at Oscars Will Take Weeks
By Tionah Lee
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The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' formal review into the onstage incident between Will Smith and Chris Rock that took place during Sunday’s 94 annual Academy Awards will take some time, the Academy stated in a letter to its members on Tuesday.
The Academy contacted its members in a private letter from President David Rubin and CEO Dawn Hudson on Tuesday, noting they are "upset and outraged" that this year's winners were "overshadowed by the unacceptable and harmful behavior on stage by a nominee."
Specifically calling out the King Richard star, the letter stated, "To be clear, we condemn Mr. Smith's actions that transpired Sunday night."
Of the formal review, they stated the the process will "take a few weeks" to complete, saying, "We will continue to update you on any developments, but we also ask that you respect your Board, Academy staff and the process as this unfolds so it can work in the considered way it was intended and mandated."
In a statement on Monday about Smith shockingly slapping Rock, the Academy shared that they were officially conducting a formal review.
"The Academy condemns the actions of Mr. Smith at last night's show," the statement reads. "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."
On Sunday, the King Richard star abruptly walked onstage and slapped Rock with an open hand, on the face, after the Saturday Night Live alum made a joke about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. While taking the stage to present, Rock quipped, "Jada, I love ya. G.I. Jane 2, can't wait to see it," referencing her shaved head.
The Girls Trip actress has been vocal about her struggles with alopecia, an autoimmune disorder which causes bald spots and hair loss. After delivering the slap, Smith returned to his seat and yelled, "Leave my wife's name out of your f**king mouth."
"The Academy does not condone violence of any form," read the statement. "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."
In addition, the Los Angeles Police Department confirmed that they were aware of the incident and that Rock declined to press charges. "LAPD investigative entities are aware of an incident between two individuals during the Academy Awards program," the statement 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.
"The incident involved one individual slapping another. 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 added.
Smith used a moment in his speech to formally apologize to the Academy for the incident. "I want to apologize to the Academy, I want to apologize to all my fellow nominees," he said through tears.
"This is a beautiful moment, and I'm not crying for winning an award," he noted. "It's not about winning an award for me, it's about being able to shine a light on all the people...the entire cast and crew of King Richard."
So far, Rock has yet to speak out about the incident.