Last night, Will Smith appeared to slap Chris Rock after the latter insulted his wife, calling her “G.I. Jane” in an apparent mockery of her painful hair loss condition known as alopecia. The “King Richard” actor could be seen saying, “Keep my wife’s name out of your f—ing mouth” and appears to go up on stage and strike Rock.
Although the LAPD has stated that Chris Rock has declined to press charges against the new Oscar winner, many are wondering if Smith will be able to keep his Oscar, considering he basically committed assault on stage before his big win.
Insiders Reveal That Will Smith May Be Asked To Return His Oscar
This is the first Academy Award that Smith has received, despite a long and successful career in the entertainment industry. According to the New York Post, Smith may be asked to return his Best Actor Oscar for breaching its code of conduct, even if he breached that code of conduct before he had formally been announced the winner.
One insider told the Post that what Smith did is “basically assault. Everyone was just so shocked in the room; it was so uncomfortable. I think Will would not want to give his Oscar back, but who knows what will happen now.”
The “Pursuit of Happiness” actor posed for pictures with his new golden statue and seemed in good spirits, smiling and laughing, even though it was still unclear if Rock was going to press charges at that time. It was only later that the LAPD issued a statement concerning his conduct at the star-studded awards ceremony.
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“LAPD investigative entities are aware of an incident between two individuals during the Academy Awards program,” a representative said. “The incident involved one individual slapping another. The individual involved has 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.”
Did Will Smith Breach The Academy’s Code Of Conduct?
The Academy released its code of conduct as recently as 2017 when a series of sexual misconduct scandals were rocking the entertainment industry. The code of conduct emphasizes the importance of “upholding the Academy’s values like inclusion, fostering supportive environments, and “respect for human dignity.”
At the time, Variety shared CEO Dawn Hudson’s statement to the Academy members, calling its membership “a privilege offered to only a select few within the global community of filmmakers. 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 continued. “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.”
Many Consider Will Smith’s Behavior To Be ‘Out Of Control’
There was immediate social backlash online after Will Smith’s outburst. Director Judd Apatow wrote in a now-deleted tweet, “He could have killed him. That’s pure out of control rage and violence. They’ve heard a million jokes about them in the last three decades. They are not freshman in the world of Hollywood and comedy. He lost his mind.”
— Mark Hamill (@MarkHamill) March 28, 2022
“Star Wars” actor Mark Hamill tweeted, “Stand-up comics are very adept at handling hecklers. Violent physical assault… not so much. #UgliestOscarsMoment_Ever”
However, not everyone thought that Will Smith was the only one in the wrong.
‘Punching Down At Someone’s Auto-Immune Disease Is Wrong’
Violence isn’t ok. Assault is never the answer. Also? This is the 2nd time that Chris has made fun of Jada on the #Oscars stage, & tonight he went after her alopecia. Punching down at someone’s auto-immune disease is wrong. Doing so on purpose is cruel. They both need a breather.
— Sophia Bush (@SophiaBush) March 28, 2022
Sophia Bush tweeted, “Violence isn’t ok. Assault is never the answer. Also? This is the 2nd time that Chris has made fun of Jada on the #Oscars stage, & tonight he went after her alopecia. Punching down at someone’s auto-immune disease is wrong. Doing so on purpose is cruel. They both need a breather.”
“For people asking if her alopecia is public knowledge? Yes. She 1st spoke about it in 2018,” she continued. “She’s been open about it since & the Smiths/Rock have a long-overlapping circle. Hitting him was not okay. AND his ‘joke’ was cruel & personal. All of it, awful.”