After the Academy claimed that Will Smith was asked to leave the Dolby Theatre following his altercation with Chris Rock, new sources say otherwise.
New sources claim that the Academy did not formally ask Will Smith to leave the Oscars ceremony following his infamous confrontation with Chris Rock. On what should have been a regal evening celebrating the best cinema had to offer in 2021, Smith striking Rock in the face overshadowed everything. After getting on stage to present the Best Documentary (Feature) award, Rock joked about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, which Smith did not take kindly to. The ensuing slap led to several Academy members consoling the Best Actor nominee, and Smith remained in the theatre. The night devolved into confused chaos, leaving everybody wondering what had happened and why nobody took additional action when the events transpired.
In the days following the 94th Academy Awards, the moments surrounding the physical altercation have only gotten muddier. Celebrities backing either Smith or Rock have made remarks supporting Smith’s emotional vulnerability and his wife’s medical condition (alopecia) or admonishing his actions against a comedian playing the part onstage. And while social media is hyper-focused on making memes about the slap itself, news outlets attempt to get a handle on the facts of what occurred. One of those supposed facts is that the Academy officially asked Smith to leave following the encounter, but now that claim is being thrown into question.
Variety reports that sources close to the production say that there was no direct request for Smith to leave the theatre. Supposedly, Academy President David Rubin and CEO Dawn Hudson spoke with a representative for the King Richard actor, who merely suggested that he leave the premises. Deadline has more information, stating that following this suggestion, Smith told the representative, “I want to make this right, I want to stay and apologize.“
Enter the role of Oscars telecast producer Will Packer, who also spoke with Smith after the dispute. Witnesses claim Packer urged Smith to stay, but the Academy is standing firm with their insistence that they directly asked him to depart. The organization’s Board of Governers reinforced that Smith was asked to leave in a statement accompanying the announcement of disciplinary proceedings against Smith. The conflicting witness reports make it difficult to believe what transpired that evening, and Packer has not yet made an official statement regarding the incident to assuage the uncertainty.
Until the witnesses who saw Packer and Smith together — or the producer himself — come forward with their statements, why Smith was allowed to stay in the theatre could remain a mystery. It is, after all, easy to imagine that the Academy’s assertion is a PR tactic to control the narrative in the face of an embarrassing occurrence at the Oscars. On the other hand, it is not inconceivable that asking one of the world’s biggest stars to leave during a live event watched by millions would only create more unwanted trouble and that Packer would want him to stay put. Smith did remain and later accepted the Best Actor award with a speech that received a standing ovation—much to the disdain of Jim Carrey and others. Stay tuned as more details about the actions taken by Academy personnel emerge.
More: The 1 Thing That Saved The Oscars 2022 From Total Disaster
90 Day Fiancé: What Happened To Caleb & Alina After Their Painful Break-Up
About The Author