The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will determine “appropriate action” against Will Smith after he slapped Chris Rock at the Oscars, the group told its members in a letter obtained by NBC News.
In the letter, Film Academy President David Rubin and CEO Don Hudson said the leaders of the nonprofit were “upset and angry” that this year’s celebration of achievement in the film industry was “overshadowed by unacceptable and harmful behavior on stage by one of the candidates.”
“The Academy’s Board of Regents will now decide on the appropriate course of action for Mr. Smith,” they said, adding that the process “will take a few weeks.”
They added, “We will continue to keep you updated, but we also ask that you respect your Board of Directors, the Academy’s staff and the process as it evolves so that you can operate in the thoughtful way that was designed and mandated.”
The academy confirmed on Monday that it had begun an “official review” of the incident without providing any details on how the process would go.
Smith, who won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his tennis drama “King Richard,” publicly apologized to Rock on Monday, saying in a statement he was “out of line” and “embarrassed.”
“Violence in all its forms is poisonous and destructive,” Smith said in a letter. Posted Monday night on Instagram. “My behavior at the Oscars last night was unacceptable and unforgivable.”
Smith slapped Rock after the festive comedian made a joke about the appearance of Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. Then he returned to his seat at the Dolby Theater and shouted, “Keep my wife’s name out of your mouth!”
Rock maintained his composure after being slapped, joking that it was “the greatest night in television history.” The Los Angeles Police Department said he declined to file charges. He hasn’t mentioned the incident publicly, but is scheduled to perform in Boston on Wednesday night.