Oscars Board Exploring 'Further Action' Against Will Smith After Slap

The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences board said it is opening a formal review into Will Smith's slapping of presenter Chris Rock during the Oscars ceremony Sunday night.

The academy said in a statement Monday it "condemns the actions of Mr. Smith" and will"explore further action and consequences in accordance with our Bylaws, Standards of Conduct and California law."

Rock was onstage at Hollywood's Dolby Theatre to present the Oscar for best documentary when he cracked a joke about Smith's wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. The comedian said, "Jada, I love you. G.I. Jane 2, can't wait to see it."

The reference was to G.I. Jane, a 1997 movie in which Demi Moore's character, a soldier, has a shaved head. Pinkett Smith has said she shaves her head because of a medical condition called alopecia, which causes hair loss. It's not known if Rock was aware of her alopecia when he made the joke.

Smith was initially seen laughing at the joke, but his wife did not appear amused. Smith then walked onto the stage and slapped Rock across the face. The sound for U.S. streaming was temporarily stopped, but international audiences heard what happened next.

"Wow. Will Smith just smacked the s*** out of me," Rock said.

Smith returned to his seat, where he shouted at Rock to "keep my wife's name out your f***ing mouth!" multiple times.

Shortly afterward, Smith won his first Oscar, for best actor, for his role as Venus and Serena Williams' father in King Richard. During his acceptance speech, he said that "love will make you do some crazy things" and apologized to the academy and his fellow nominees, but without mentioning the incident or Rock.

"I know to do what we do you gotta be able to take abuse, you gotta be able to have people talk crazy about you," Smith said, tears visible in his eyes. "In this business, you gotta be able to have people disrespecting you and you gotta smile and gotta pretend that that's OK."

After the show, the academy posted a statement on Twitter saying it does not "condone violence of any form." The Los Angeles Police Department said it is aware of the slapping incident but noted that Rock had declined to file a police report.

"If the involved party desires a police report at a later date, LAPD will be available to complete an investigative report," the police said.

Newsweek reached out to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for comment but did not hear back before publication.

Update 03/28/22, 5:02 p.m. ET: This story was updated with additional information.

Will Smith Slaps Chris Rock
The Oscars academy said Monday it is opening a formal review into Will Smith's behavior at Sunday's ceremony. Above, Smith slaps Chris Rock onstage after the comedian made a joke about the actor's wife. Robyn Beck / AFP/Getty Images