“The Academy does not condone violence of any form,” reads a statement posted to the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences’ Twitter account about two hours after Will Smith walked onstage and slapped presenter Chris Rock after Rock made a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith.
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The Academy tweet then sought to refocus attention on the more dignified elements of the evening:
“Tonight we are delighted to celebrate our 94th Academy Awards winners, who deserve this moment of recognition from their peers and movie lovers around the world.”
The Academy does not condone violence of any form.
Tonight we are delighted to celebrate our 94th Academy Awards winners, who deserve this moment of recognition from their peers and movie lovers around the world.
— The Academy (@TheAcademy) March 28, 2022
But it was a tough sell, especially among those in the usually Oscar-obsessed entertainment industry.
The Last Samurai producer Marshall Herskovitz wanted to see the Academy do more than just issue a statement.
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“I call upon the Academy, of which I am a member,” he wrote, “to take disciplinary action against Will Smith. He disgraced our entire community tonight.”
I call upon the Academy, of which I am a member, to take disciplinary action against Will Smith. He disgraced our entire community tonight.
— Marshall Herskovitz (@MHerskovitz) March 28, 2022
For his part, Rock decided not to file a police report — at least for now. That means Smith will not be charged with assault or face the up to six months behind bars and a fine up to $100,000 that could result from such a charge.
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While Smith returned to his seat after the incident, Deadline can report that he did not venture backstage to make a statement (beyond his speech) or answer questions from reporters.
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