Academy: Will Smith broke code of conduct, was asked but refused to leave ceremony

LOS ANGELES — Will Smith broke the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ code of conduct, the organization said in a statement on Wednesday. The actor, who walked on stage and appeared to slap Chris Rock after the comedian made a joke about Smith’s wife during Sunday night’s Academy Awards ceremony, was asked but refused to leave the ceremony, The Associated Press reported.

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“The Board of Governors today initiated disciplinary proceedings against Mr. Smith for violations of the Academy’s standards of conduct, including inappropriate physical contact, abusive or threatening behavior, and compromising the integrity of the Academy,” the statement said.

Smith was given 15 days’ notice of a vote regarding his violations and possible sanctions and has the chance to provide a written response, the Academy said in its statement. The next board meeting is scheduled for April 18, Variety reported.

The board held the emergency meeting to discuss possible consequences for the actor, according to the entertainment site.

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

A representative for the academy declined to say how it attempted to remove Smith from the ceremony, the AP reported.

Rock, a presenter at the Academy Awards, was awarding an Oscar for best documentary feature, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

He was confronted by Smith after the actor reacted negatively to the comedian’s “G.I. Jane 2″ joke about his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, according to the AP. Smith walked onstage and appeared to strike Rock.

Pinkett Smith has a shaved head and suffers from alopecia, a hair-loss condition, according to the AP.

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After returning to his seat in the audience, Smith shouted, “Keep my wife’s name out of your (expletive) mouth,” Variety reported.

“Mr. Smith’s actions at the 94th Oscars were a deeply shocking, traumatic event to witness in-person and on television,” the academy said in its statement. “Mr. Rock, we apologize to you for what you experienced on our stage and thank you for your resilience in that moment. We also apologize to our nominees, guests and viewers for what transpired during what should have been a celebratory event.”

Smith, who later won an Oscar for best actor for his role in “King Richard,” returned to the stage and apologized to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences during his acceptance speech, the AP reported.

Smith apologized to Rock on Monday.

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“Violence in all of its forms is poisonous and destructive,” Smith said in a statement. “My behavior at last night’s Academy Awards was unacceptable and inexcusable.”

A representative for Smith did not immediately respond to messages Wednesday about the academy’s statement, the AP reported.

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