Will Smith’s Oscars slap condemned by Academy as formal inquiry launched

The organisation said it ‘condemned’ the actions of the US star who went on to win the Oscar for best actor
Will Smith’s Oscars slap condemned by Academy as formal inquiry launched

By Mike Bedigan, PA Los Angeles Correspondent

A formal review has been launched into the altercation between Will Smith and comedian Chris Rock during the Oscars ceremony, The Academy has announced.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences said it “condemned” the actions of Smith, who later went on to win the Oscar for best actor following the incident at the 94th annual movie awards.

Smith stormed onstage and hit the comedian in front of a star-studded audience at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, after Rock made a joke about his wife Jada Pinkett Smith and her hair loss.

94th Academy Awards
Will Smith, right, hits presenter Chris Rock on stage at the Oscars (Chris Pizzello/AP)

In a statement to media on Monday, the film academy said: “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.”

Earlier, US chat show host Whoopi Goldberg said Smith “made a mistake” but the Academy would not take his best actor prize away for slapping Rock.

The former Oscars host said the King Richard star had been under a lot of pressure on the night and had “snapped” and “overreacted”.

Speaking on her talk show The View, Goldberg said: “We’re not going to take that Oscar from him.

“There will be consequences, I’m sure, but I don’t think that that’s what they’ll do, particularly because Chris said, ‘Listen, I’m not pressing any charges’.

“(Smith) made a mistake… overreactions, mistakes were made. I think he overreacted.”

Other celebrities defended Smith, with comedian Tiffany Haddish saying the incident was “the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen”.

“When I saw a black man stand up for his wife. That meant so much to me,” she told People magazine at the Governors Ball after the ceremony.

“Maybe the world might not like how it went down, but for me, it was the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen because it made me believe that there are still men out there that love and care about their women, their wives.”

Smith’s son Jaden Smith, 23, also appeared to defend his father’s actions, tweeting “And That’s How We Do It”.

Other famous faces criticised the incident, including Star Wars actor Mark Hamill, who dubbed it the “ugliest Oscar moment ever”.

Red Table Talk host Pinkett Smith has previously spoken about her struggles with alopecia and said it is what prompted her to shave her head.

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