Oscars organisers condemn Will Smith over Chris Rock slap and launch formal review

28 March 2022, 20:24 | Updated: 29 March 2022, 00:06

Will Smith has been condemned for slapping Chris Rock
Will Smith has been condemned for slapping Chris Rock. Picture: Alamy

By Will Taylor

The organisers behind the Oscars have condemned Will Smith's slapping of Chris Rock and launched a "formal review" of the incident.

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Smith, who won Best Actor for his role in King Richard, struck Rock after the comedian made a joke about wife Jada Pinkett Smith's hair loss.

Senior figures at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences are said to have called for him to be stripped of his award, reportedly entering "crisis mode" as their prestigious movie ceremony was thrown into turmoil.

The Academy said in a statement on Monday: "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."

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Will Smith appears to hit Chris Rock on Oscars stage after gag about wife Jada

Smith walked onto stage and struck Rock, who was on stage at the Los Angeles show, as he made a comment about Ms Pinkett Smith's alopecia.

The Fresh Prince of Bel Air star appeared to laugh at the jibe before making his way on stage.

He was seen shouting "Keep my wife's name out of your f****** mouth" after the incident.

Rock appeared flustered after, but later declined to file a report with the Los Angeles Police Department.

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Smith later said he wanted to "apologise to the Academy, I want to apologise to all my fellow nominees" and that he hoped he was invited back to the Oscars. Notably, he did not apologise to Rock.

"Art imitates life, I look like the crazy father, just like they said about Richard Williams, but love will make you do crazy things," he said.

During his Oscar acceptance speech Smith said: "I'm being called on in my life to love people and to protect people and to be a river to my people.