Los Angeles police were prepared to arrest Will Smith after he slapped Chris Rock during the Academy Awards on Sunday night, but didn’t at the request of the comedian, the show’s producer alleges.
In a preview clip for his upcoming interview with Good Morning America, Oscars producer Will Packer claims police told Rock they would remove Smith from the audience and arrest him for battery.
‘We will go get him, we are prepared to get him right now,’ the cops said to Rock, Packer recalled. ‘You can press charges. We can arrest him.’
Packer claimed Rock was dismissive towards police, but he encouraged the comedian to hear them out before making a decision.
‘They were laying out the options, and as they were talking, Chris was being very dismissive of those options. He was like, “No, I’m fine.” He was like, “No, no, no,”‘ the producer said.
Ultimately, Rock declined to press charges, however police said in a statement Sunday ‘if the involved party desires a police report at a later date, LAPD will be available to complete an investigative report.’
Will Smith is battling to save his career after he slapped Chris Rock during the Academy Awards on Sunday night.
Smith, 53, who was presented with his first Oscar after the onstage attack, is writing to the Academy to plead his case ahead of his upcoming hearing on April 18, an insider confirmed to The Sun.
‘Things are hanging in the balance. He will write an official letter to apologize, and effectively beg for their forgiveness,’ the source said. ‘He is also expected to hold a call with show bosses in the next 24 hours. April 18 is D-Day, though — he will find out if he still has an Oscar, and quite possibly, a career.’
News of potential disciplinary action against the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air alum comes as insiders revealed Rock, 57, was never asked if Smith should be removed from the ceremony after the attack.
‘No one ever asked Chris if Will should leave. They never consulted him. It was the Oscars producer Will Packer who made the final decision to let Will stay,’ an insider told The New York Post.
In fact, according to TMZ, the Academy never asked the actor to vacate the premise, contradicting a statement the film authority released Wednesday saying: ‘Smith was asked to leave the ceremony and refused.’
Will Smith is battling to save his career after he slapped Chris Rock (pictured) during the Oscars on Sunday night. The actor is reportedly writing to the Academy to plead his case ahead of his upcoming hearing on April 18
News of potential disciplinary action against Smith comes as insiders revealed Rock (pictured in Boston on Wednesday) was never asked if the actor should be removed from the ceremony after the attack
Smith was in breach of the Academy’s code of conduct when he slapped Rock, the Post previously reported.
He faces punishment for his actions, including a possible year-long ban from the Oscars, which would prevent him from being nominated for awards.
‘They really feel they have to be seen to act,’ an insider said of the Academy, according to The Sun. ‘It’s no wonder Will is seeking legal advice — he’s likely to need all the help he can get to avoid sanctions.’
Sources familiar with the situation also claim the fate of his upcoming projects, including the Apple-funded slave escape drama Emancipation, remains in question.
‘Production executives and studio chiefs do not want to be seen picking a side too early,’ the insider said, noting that Smith is expected to return for a fourth installment of the Bad Boys franchise although no start date has been set yet.
In fact, sources the claim Academy never asked the actor to vacate the premise, despite many leaders feeling he should. Insiders allege the decision to let Smith stay was ultimately made by producer Will Packer (pictured backstage during Sunday’s Oscars ceremony) who reportedly walked up to the actor and said: ‘We do not want you to leave’
A source close to Packer (pictured backstage with Venus Williams) has denied that he encouraged Smith to remain in the audience
Meanwhile, the Academy is facing scrutiny for allegedly lying about it’s immediate response to Smith slapping Rock.
Reports initially claimed that Oscars president David Rubin and CEO Dawn Hudson asked the Independence Day actor to leave the ceremony after the emotional outburst.
However, people who witnessed discussions amongst Academy leaders claim there was never any attempt to remove Smith from the ceremony.
Officials were reportedly split on whether or not to remove the star and although there were many heated discussions during commercial breaks, a consensus was never reached, TMZ reported.
Sources claim the decision to let Smith stay was ultimately made by Packer who reportedly walked up to the actor and said: ‘We do not want you to leave.’
Other insiders echoed the claim, alleging the producer was ‘the key’ to Smith being permitted to stay for the remainder of the show.
‘Packer walked out into the orchestra and conferred with Smith,’ two witnesses confirmed to Variety. ‘Packer said that he and the production “officially” wanted Smith to stay for the remainder of the show, according to one of the witnesses.’
Despite the allegations, a source close to Packer has denied that he encouraged Smith to remain in the audience.
Chris Rock looks shocked during the Oscars Sunday after Smith came onstage and slapped him for making a remark about Jada Pinkett Smith’s haircut
As evidenced by her unamused expression, Pinkett Smith did not appreciate the joke
Initial reports claimed Dawn Hudson (left), the CEO of the Academy, asked Smith to leave, along with David Rubin, the president (right). However, people who witnessed discussions amongst Academy leaders claim there was never any attempt to remove Smith from the ceremony
Smith brushed off a tumultuous night by partying to celebrate the greatest achievement of his career: Best Actor at the Oscars
The 53-year-old actor marched onto the Oscars stage on Sunday and hit Rock, after the comedian told a joke about his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith.
Rock’s wisecrack was targeted at Pinkett Smith’s buzzcut, a style she has embraced in wake of her alopecia diagnosis.
‘Jada, I love you. “G.I. Jane 2,” can’t wait to see it,’ Rock said to Pinkett Smith, whose close-shaven head looked similar to Demi Moore’s in the 1997 movie, during his presentation of the award for best documentary.
Whether Rock was aware that Pinkett Smith suffered from a hair-loss condition is unknown, but Smith reacted with the smack and an angry warning ‘to keep my wife’s name out your f***ing mouth!’
Shortly after, Smith was announced as the winner of the best actor award and went up to collect his statuette to a standing ovation from many of his peers.
In his acceptance speech, Smith apologized to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences – whose members vote for the awards, and who stages the ceremony – but stopped short of apologizing to Rock.
Smith initially laughed off the attack, writing on Instagram on Sunday evening: ‘You can’t invite people from Philly or Baltimore nowhere!!’
Yet as the gravity of the situation became clear, Smith then posted a public apology to Instagram 24 hours after the ceremony, saying he wanted to say sorry formally to Rock.
He said his behavior was ‘unacceptable and inexcusable’ and left him ’embarrassed’.
‘I would like to publicly apologize to you, Chris,’ he wrote.
‘I was out of line and I was wrong. I am embarrassed and my actions were not indicative of the man I want to be.
‘There is no place for violence in a world of love and kindness.’
Pinkett Smith’s first public comment came in an Instagram post Tuesday in which she said: ‘This is a season for healing and I’m here for it.’
On Wednesday, the Academy announced it had launched ‘disciplinary procedures’ against Smith and alleged he ignored their request for him to leave his seat. They also apologized to Rock.
Two sources told TMZ Rubin and Hudson were ‘furious’ at Smith, and there was plenty of ‘yelling’ and ‘heated conversations’ backstage with his reps after the incident.
One source said the Academy officials were ‘apoplectic.’
‘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,’ their statement said.
‘Mr. Smith was asked to leave the ceremony and refused, [but] we also recognize we could have handled the situation differently.’
Smith will receive 15 days notice of a vote as well as an opportunity to be heard by written response.
At the next board meeting – scheduled for April 18 – the Academy may take action that could include ‘suspension, expulsion, or other sanctions permitted by the Bylaws and Standards of Conduct.’
Chris Rock briefly addressed this weekend’s Oscars slap during a show at Boston’s Wilbur Theatre on Wednesday before moving on to his regular set
Some fans said they were disappointed by Rock’s decision to not address the controversy more directly, with one telling Fox News : ‘We want our money back, I didn’t pay $400 to see nothing’
Rock, who had a show in Boston on Wednesday briefly addressed the Oscars slap, telling his fans that he needs time to ‘process’ the assault.
The comic took to the stage at the Wilbur Theatre and asked: ‘How was your weekend?’
The rhetorical question got a big laugh from the crowd, which occasionally heckled the Emmy-winning comedian about Smith’s on-screen strike. But Rock warned those at the sold-out venue that the show would go on as planned.
‘I don’t have like a bunch of s*** to say about what happened, so if you came to hear that, I had like a whole show I wrote before… this weekend…’ he said to more laughs. ‘And I’m still kind of processing what happened.
‘So at some time I’ll talk about that s***… and it’ll be serious. It’ll be funny,’ he said before an audience member shouted, ‘F*** Will!’
‘I’m gonna tell some jokes,’ Rock concluded, later revealing that he hasn’t spoken to ‘anyone’ since the incident, alluding to reports that he and Smith have reconciled.
But some of the 3,000 fans in the audience – who paid up to $1,000 per ticket – are disappointed that the stand-up comedian avoided the topic on everyone’s mind.
‘We want our money back, I didn’t pay $400 to see nothing,’ one person told Fox News.