The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has launched a formal review following Will Smith's assault on Chris Rock at Sunday's Oscars ceremony. The organisation behind the annual film awards show initially said it condemned violence without mentioning Smith by name, but now it is making its displeasure over the incident more explicit.
"The Academy condemns the actions of Mr. Smith at last night's show," a spokesperson for the organisation said. "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."
It appears that Smith may face some type of disciplinary action or sanction, though it's unlikely he will be made to forfeit his prize. In its official standards of conduct, the Academy states it is "categorically opposed to any form of abuse."
Smith, who was named best actor for his portrayal of Richard Williams, the father of tennis greats Venus and Serena Williams, in King Richard, had his big night marred by his outburst. After Chris Rock made a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith's close cropped haircut, referencing G.I. Jane, Smith charged the stage and slapped Rock. He then screamed at Rock to "leave my wife's name out of your f****** mouth." Pinkett Smith has said her hair loss results from alopecia.
Smith was named best actor later in the evening. He used his time at the podium to apologise to the Academy and to his fellow nominees -- though he did not mention Rock.
"Love will make you do crazy things," he said, adding, "To do what we do, you got to be able to take abuse. You got to be able to have people talk crazy about you. In this business you got to be able to have people disrespecting you. And you got to smile, you got to pretend like that's OK."
On Monday, SAG-AFTRA, the union that represents actors like Smith and Rock, condemned the altercation.
"As the union representing presenters and other performers working on the Oscars, SAG-AFTRA is focused on ensuring our members always work in a safe environment," the union said in a statement.
"Violence or physical abuse in the workplace is never appropriate and the union condemns any such conduct. The incident involving Will Smith and Chris Rock at last night's Academy Awards was unacceptable. We have been in contact with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and ABC about this incident, and will work to ensure this behavior is appropriately addressed."
The union said it does not comment on any pending disciplinary process involving its members. – Reuters