The Academy Isn't Wasting Any Time In Deciding Will Smith's Fate

Will Smith is still feeling the effects of his headline-grabbing behavior at the 94th Academy Awards — and likely will for a long time to come. Smith stormed the stage and slapped presenter Chris Rock after the comedian made an ill-advised joke about his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. The "Fresh Prince" alum apologized during his best actor acceptance speech, and again on social media, but the damage was done. 

Several projects the Oscar winner had in the pipeline have been put on hold in the wake of the controversy. Variety reports Netflix's upcoming action movie "Fast and Loose" has stalled, while, according to The Hollywood Reporter, Apple+ is refusing to confirm either way whether slave drama "Emancipation," also starring Smith, will still be released later this year. Likewise, "Bad Boys 4" is on pause at Sony, despite being underway prior to the Oscars. 

Smith first expressed regret for his behavior while accepting his award for "King Richard," admitting he hoped to be invited back by The Academy next year regardless. The actor followed up with an Instagram post in which he apologized to Rock directly and described his actions as "unacceptable and inexcusable." Meanwhile, Pinkett Smith reportedly would rather the whole thing never happened, a source told Us Weekly

The Academy has already launched a formal investigation into the incident, but now they're moving to adjudicate the matter sooner rather than later.

Will Smith's fate will be decided earlier than expected

Although Will Smith has already resigned from The Academy, they're not done dealing with him. According to Variety, a planned meeting of their Board of Governors has been moved up, to April 8, 2022. It was originally scheduled for April 18. 

In a letter obtained by the outlet, signed by president David Rubin, members are advised to prepare for discussions surrounding "possible sanctions for Will Smith in response to his actions." Rubin also acknowledges it's no longer possible to either suspend or expel the actor since he's already given up his position with The Academy. 

Regardless, Rubin asserts, "It is in the best interest of all involved for this to be handled in a timely fashion." Given ongoing COVID-19 restrictions, the meeting will take place over Zoom, rather than in person. Rubin also points out that Smith is required to get 15 days' notice, alongside the opportunity to respond in writing up to five days beforehand.

Multiple celebrities weighed in on Smith's violent outburst at the Oscars. There were even calls for The Academy to take back his best actor Oscar

Elsewhere, the real reason Smith didn't get arrested at the event was surprisingly simple. Chris Rock, who opted not to press charges, acknowledged the incident for the first time during a recent standup show. Per People, the comedian briefly joked about his eventful night before reassuring those present he would go into it further at a later stage.