Police ready to arrest Will Smith after Chris Rock Oscars slap, producer says – National
Almost a week after the now famous “Oscars slap”, information is still leaking out about what happened and questions being answered – specifically why Will Smith was not escorted from the following venue. while hitting comedian Chris Rock during a live broadcast.
On Friday, Oscar producer Will Packer revealed in an interview with Good Morning America that Los Angeles police officers were prepared to arrest Smith, 53, but Rock’s determination not to press charges prevented that.
Packer, who produced the 94th Academy Awards, said that at first – like many audiences at home and at the Dolby Theater – he thought Smith slap Rock was a bit off.
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It was only when Rock left the stage and confirmed to Packer that he had indeed been hit that Packer understood the situation.
“I just got a punch from Muhammad Ali,” Packer said Rock joked, although he insisted Rock was still “in shock.”
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The shift between Smith and Rock happened Sunday during the Oscars broadcast when Rock, 57, was presenting the Documentary Award (won by Summer of the soul).
“Jada, I love you. GI Jane 2, can’t wait to see it, okay? “Rock jokes, referencing the 1997 movie GI Jane starring Demi Moore, who shaved her head to play a fictional Navy SEAL candidate.
Pinkett Smith, who has publicly talked about her struggle with hair loss, was unimpressed by the joke.
Smith stepped onto the stage from his front row and rocked Rock with his open palm, creating a loud bang. Smith goes to his seat and shouts to Rock to leave Pinkett Smith alone. Rock replied that he just did GI Jane joke and Smith yelled back at him a second time.
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“Let my wife’s name out of your f-king mouth!” Smith shouted, and the crowd fell silent when it became clear that this was not action.
Smith stayed at the Dolby Theater for the remainder of the ceremony and received his Best Actor award for King Richard after the rotation.
Packer said: “Once I saw Will screaming on stage with such perfume, my heart sank. “And I just remember thinking, ‘Oh no, oh no. Not like this. ‘”
“Chris is still holding on to his head when others are losing theirs,” he continued. “My heart aches for everything about it and what it stands for, what it looks like and who is involved. All those things. I have never felt so devastated right away.”
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After Rock was slapped, Packer said that police spoke to him and the comedian, “speaking very clearly what Chris’ rights are.”
“They said, ‘Here’s the battery. We’ll go get him. Was prepared. We’re getting ready to catch him now. You can press charge. We will arrest him. ‘”
However, Packer said Rock was “very dismissive” of those options, saying he was fine “even when I said, ‘Rock, let him finish’.”
On Wednesday, the Academy said Smith had been asked to leave Sunday’s Oscars ceremony after hitting Rock but refused to do so. Packer said he was not part of this conversation, and since then there have been disputed reports this has happened.
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However, when Packer learned that the Academy would ask Smith to leave, he said he took action.
“I immediately went to the Academy leadership who were on site and I said, ‘Chris Rock doesn’t want that.
“I said, ‘Rock has made it clear that he doesn’t want to make the situation worse.’ It’s a picture of Chris. His tone was not retaliatory, not aggressive and angry. And so I campaigned for what Rock wanted at the time, which was not to physically remove Will Smith,” he said. “Because, as it has now been explained to me, that was the only option at the time.”
On Monday afternoon, after much frustration from the incident, the Academy announced in a statement that it was starting an investigation into what happened.
“The Academy condemns Mr. Smith’s actions at last night’s performance,” the statement read. “We have officially begun a formal review surrounding the incident and will explore future action and consequences in accordance with the California Code of Conduct, Standards of Conduct, and law.”
That same day, Smith issued an apology to the comedian, the Academy and viewers at home, saying on Instagram that he had “stayed out of the loop” and that his actions “wasn’t right.” show me the man I want to be.”
Packer said Smith also directly apologized to him and expressed embarrassment at the situation.
It is unclear what action the Academy will take, if any, against Smith.
– with files from the Associated Press
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