LOS ANGELES - The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences on Monday condemned the actions of Will Smith during Sunday night’s Oscars and launched an inquiry into his slapping of presenter Chris Rock.
In a statement Monday, the film academy said:
The fallout from Smith’s onstage assault continued Monday, as Hollywood and the public continued to wrestle with a moment that stunned the Dolby Theatre crowd and viewers at home, and may have passed all others — even that gold-standard flub, EnvelopeGate — in Academy Awards infamy.
Smith stunned the Dolby Theatre crowd and viewers at home when he took the stage during Rock’s remarks after the comedian made a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith, Smith’s wife. Rock said, "Jada, I love you. ‘G.I. Jane 2,’ can’t wait to see it."
The joke touched a nerve. Pinkett Smith, whose head is shaved, has spoken publicly about her alopecia diagnosis. Smith strode on stage and slapped Rock across the face. Back in his seat, Smith twice shouted for Rock to "get my wife’s name out your (expletive) mouth." His words echoed clearly throughout the Dolby, though ABC cut the audio for about 15 seconds. Within an hour, Smith won best actor. During his acceptance speech, Smith apologized to the academy.
After the show Sunday night, the academy posted a statement condemning violence. The Los Angeles Police Department said Sunday it was aware of the incident but not pursuing an investigation because the person involved declined to file a police report.
The question remains - can Smith lose his Oscar? Some industry experts say it's unlikely. Here's what the Academy's code of conduct states.
After the sexual misconduct scandal that involved the elite of the film community in 2017, The Academy’s conduct code was released with its primary focus to give importance to "upholding the Academy’s values", like inclusion, fostering supportive environments, and "respect for human dignity".
AMPAS CEO Dawn Hudson wrote when the code was released, "In addition to achieving excellence in the field of motion picture arts and sciences, members must also behave ethically by upholding the Academy’s values of respect for human dignity, inclusion, and a supportive environment that fosters creativity. There is no place in the Academy for people who abuse their status, power or influence in a manner that violates recognized standards of decency."
She added, "The Academy is categorically opposed to any form of abuse, harassment or discrimination on the basis of gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, disability, age, religion, or nationality. The Board of Governors believes that these standards are essential to the Academy’s mission and reflective of our values."
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