Will Smith refused to leave the 94th Academy Awards on Sunday after slapping comedian Chris Rock, according to the Academy.
“Things unfolded in a way we could not have anticipated,” the Academy said in a statement on Wednesday. “While we would like to clarify that Mr. Smith was asked to leave the ceremony and refused, we also recognize we could have handled the situation differently.”
The Academy also announced that its Board of Governors initiated disciplinary proceedings against Smith “for violations of the Academy’s Standards of Conduct, including inappropriate physical contact, abusive or threatening behavior, and compromising the integrity of the Academy.”
Smith went onto the stage at the Oscars Sunday night and slapped Rock after the comedian made a joke about wife Jada Pinkett Smith‘s hair. Back in his seat, Smith then shouted, “Keep my wife’s name out of your f****** mouth,” twice.
Rock went on to present the Oscar for best documentary. Later in the evening, Will Smith won best actor for his role in King Richard.
Smith seemingly referenced his confrontation with Rock and apologized to the Academy during his acceptance speech before issuing a formal apology to the Academy, and to Rock, on his Instagram, saying in part, “My behavior at last night’s Academy Awards was unacceptable and inexcusable. Jokes at my expense are a part of the job, but a joke about Jada’s medical condition was too much for me to bear and I reacted emotionally.”
The Academy further said in its statement that it’s giving Smith “at least 15 days’ notice of a vote regarding his violations and sanctions, and the opportunity to be heard beforehand by means of a written response.”
At their next board meeting on April 18, the Academy said it may take disciplinary action, which may include suspension, expulsion or other sanctions.