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Could Will Smith lose his Best Actor award for hitting Chris Rock?

Fans have questioned whether Will Smith could lose his Oscar after hitting Chris Rock in the face on stage.

During Sunday (27 March) night’s awards show, Rock made a joke about Smith’s wife Jada Pinkett Smith, referring to her as “GI Jane 2” in reference to her shaved head.

Smith then walked onto the stage and hit Rock, before returning to his seat and shouting: “Keep my wife’s name out your f***ing mouth.”

Just 15 minutes later, Smith won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his role in King Richard, using his speech to say: “I’m being called on in my life to love people and to protect people and to be a river to my people.”

Could Will Smith Lose his Oscar?

The Academy has now reacted with an official statement on Twitter. It reads, “The Academy does not condone violence of any form. Tonight we are delighted to celebrate our 94th Academy Awards winners, who deserve this moment of recognition from their peers and movie lovers around the world (sic).”

Many on Twitter have pointed out that the Academy has strict guidelines in its code of conduct against such cases. Given that this was “basically assault”, many believe that Will Smith could be asked to hand over his award.

The Los Angeles Police Department said in a statement that it was aware of the incident but one of the parties declined to file a police report. 

Harvey Weinstein was kicked out of the Academy and stripped of his Oscar from 1999 for Shakespeare in Love following multiple accusations of sexual assault.

What Does The Academy’s Code of Conduct say?

The Academy’s conduct code, released in 2017 following the sexual misconduct scandal that engulfed the industry, focuses on the importance of “upholding the Academy’s values”, like inclusion, fostering supportive environments, and “respect for human dignity”.

AMPAS CEO Dawn Hudson wrote back then, “In addition to achieving excellence in the field of motion picture arts and sciences, members must also behave ethically by upholding the Academy’s values of respect for human dignity, inclusion, and a supportive environment that fosters creativity.”

The footage was censored in the US.
Los Angeles Times via Getty Imag

She had added, “There is no place in the Academy for people who abuse their status, power or influence in a manner that violates recognized standards of decency. The Academy is categorically opposed to any form of abuse, harassment or discrimination on the basis of gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, disability, age, religion, or nationality.”

Has Will Smith Apologized to Chris Rock?

Smith later apologized in his teary speech.
Los Angeles Times via Getty Imag

Will Smith gave a teary apology during his acceptance speech at the 2022 Oscars to everyone but Chris Rock.

“I want to apologize to all of my fellow nominees. This is a beautiful moment, and I’m not crying for winning an award,” Smith, 53, said as he took home Best Actor for his role in “King Richard.”

“It’s not about winning an award for me; it’s about being able to shine a light on all of the people,” he continued.

The first-time Oscar winner could barely get out his words as he held back tears, saying, “Art imitates life; I looked like the crazy father, just like they said about Richard Williams. But love will make you do crazy things.”

He then thanked the Academy and admitted he hopes to be invited back after the incident with Rock, to whom he notably did not apologize.

“Thank you for this honor. Thank you for this moment. … Thank you. I’m hoping the Academy invites me back.”

Twitter Reactions to Will Smith, Chris Rock Oscars Altercation

Twitter was divided over whether to cancel Smith, especially since other Oscar winners such as Roman Polanski, Harvey Weinstein and many more have reportedly done other unspeakable acts — and still have their trophies.

Some are calling for the “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” actor to be disciplined. “I call upon the Academy, of which I am a member, to take disciplinary action against Will Smith. He disgraced our entire community tonight,” writer Marshall Herskovitz tweeted.

Another chimed in and replied to Herskovitz’s words, saying: “I can assure you that your community has many more disgraceful actions that have impacted many more people than Will Smith. See Roman Polanski, Mel Gibson, Harvey Weinstein, Alfred Hitchcock.”

Another added: “Just remember they gave Roman Polanski an Oscar in absentia after he fled the country to avoid a pedophilia conviction.”

Polanski, 88, won the Oscar for Best Director in 2003 for his work on “The Pianist.” However, he didn’t attend the ceremony because he fled the US following a rape charge. Harrison Ford accepted the award on Polanksi’s behalf and the filmmaker received a standing ovation.

One argued that viewers shouldn’t condemn Smith for his actions, rattling off names of numerous other actors who have allegedly crossed a line. “No, we are not going to do this to a Black man when we didn’t do it to Roman Polanski, Woody Allen, Harvey Weinstein, Michael Douglas, Douglas Hoffman, Richard Dreyfuss, Paul Haggis, James Franco, Kevin Spacey, Casey Affleck, Mel Gibson, Arthur Freed, Joan Crawford [and] Clark Gable,” they wrote.

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Academy condemns Will Smith’s actions, launches review