Will Smith's Behavior On Oscars Night Is More Complicated Than You Might Think

The Academy Awards have provided many unforgettable moments over the years, including Marlon Brando refusing his award for "The Godfather," a streaker who raced across the stage, and Björk's "swan dress" (via SheKnows). Now, the 2022 ceremony has taken its infamous place in Oscars history. Responding to a joke Chris Rock had just made about his wife's shaved head, Will Smith marched up on stage and smacked Rock across the face, per the BBC. The moment stunned both the live audience and viewers watching at home, and dampened the rest of the show, including Smith's subsequent win for Best Actor for his performance in "King Richard."

On March 30, 2022, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences — the organization behind the Oscars — released an official statement on the incident and the subsequent investigation of Smith, Variety reported. It began, "The Board of Governors today initiated disciplinary proceedings against Mr. 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."

The statement went on to explain that Smith has 15 days to offer a response to the charges before the membership votes on his future within the organization. The Academy also offered a bit of surprising information — the actor was actually told to leave the theater right after his outburst.

Will Smith apparently refused to leave the Oscars ceremony

Although Will Smith may have felt justified in the moment when he smacked Chris Rock, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences clearly feels that his actions were out of line. In their official statement (via Variety), the organization confirms that it tried to take immediate action following the assault. "Things unfolded in a way we could not have anticipated," the Academy stated. "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."

Calling the attack "a deeply shocking, traumatic event" for all involved, the Academy extended an apology for all involved. "Mr. Rock, we apologize to you for what you experienced on our stage and thank you for your resilience in that moment," the statement continued. "We also apologize to our nominees, guests and viewers for what transpired during what should have been a celebratory event."

The Academy's Board of Governors will be meeting on April 18, 2022, to discuss next steps, and they may or may not decide to take such disciplinary actions as suspending or expelling Smith from the organization.