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Oscars organisers claim Will Smith refused to leave after Chris Rock slap

Oscars organisers claim Will Smith refused to leave after Chris Rock slap
/ © Cover Media

Will Smith refused to leave the Dolby Theatre after slapping Chris Rock during the Oscars on Sunday, the Academy has claimed.

Officials from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which organises the Oscars, released a statement on Wednesday in which they claimed the King Richard actor was asked to leave the auditorium after he slapped Oscars presenter Chris Rock onstage during the ceremony but he refused.

"Things unfolded in a way we could not have anticipated. 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," their statement reads, reports The Associated Press.

They also praised Rock for how he handled the situation, which took place after he made a joke about Smith's wife Jada Pinkett Smith.

"Mr. Smith's actions at the 94th Oscars were a deeply shocking, traumatic event to witness in-person and on television," the statement continued. "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."

The Academy also announced that its Board of Governors has begun the process of disciplining Smith for "inappropriate physical contact, abusive or threatening behavior and compromising the integrity of the Academy."

The 53-year-old has been given notice to write to the board before its next meeting on 18 April, when they will decide whether to suspend, expel, or make other sanctions against the actor.

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