Academy claims Will Smith was asked to leave the Oscars but refused 8 months ago

Academy claims Will Smith was asked to leave the Oscars but refused

The actor remained in the front row after slapping Chris Rock.

The controversy around Will Smith's actions at the Oscars continues, as the Academy has claimed the actor was asked to leave the auditorium following the slap heard around the world.

Smith attacked host Chris Rock following a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith's appearance on Sunday (27 March).

The joke was in reference to Jada's shaved head following a diagnosis of alopecia.

Moments after the joke, Will rose from his seat and made his way towards Rock, slapping him before returning to his seat and yelling, "Keep my wife's name out of your f***ing mouth".

Smith apologised first to the Academy and his fellow nominees during his acceptance speech for Best Actor, and to Rock the following day on social media.

Questions were raised as to why Smith was allowed to remain in the theatre following the assault.

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The Academy have now claimed that they made an attempt to remove Smith after the slap, but he refused to leave.

In a damning statement following an emergency meeting of the Board of Governors, the Academy said a disciplinary investigation is currently underway which could see Smith face "suspension, expulsion, or other sanctions permitted".

“Things unfolded in a way we could not have anticipated,” the statement read. “While we would like to clarify that Mr. Smith was asked to leave the ceremony and refused, we also recognise we could have handled the situation differently.”

Though consequences are likely, it is not thought that Smith will be made to return his Oscar.

The Academy also issued an apology in their statement for what transpired.

"Mr. Smith’s actions at the 94th Oscars were a deeply shocking, traumatic event to witness in-person and on television," they said. "Mr. Rock, we apologise to you for what you experienced on our stage and thank you for your resilience in that moment.

"We also apologise to our nominees, guests and viewers for what transpired during what should have been a celebratory event."