The producer of the 2022 Academy Awards ceremony said that officers with the Los Angeles Police Department were prepared to arrest Will Smith after the actor slapped comedian Chris Rock on Sunday night.
“They were saying, you know, ‘This is battery,’ was a word they used in that moment,” Packer said. “They said, ‘We will go get him. We are prepared. We’re prepared to get him right now. You can press charges, we can arrest him.’”
“They were laying out the options. And as they were talking, Chris was -- he was being very dismissive of those options. He was like, ‘No, no, no, I’m fine.’ And even to the point where I said, ‘Rock, let them finish.’ The LAPD officers finished laying out what his options were and they said, ‘Would you like us to take any action?’ And he said no. He said no.”
Packer also told ABC News that he did not speak with Smith on Sunday night.
Rock was presenting the Oscar for best documentary feature during the awards ceremony when he made a “G.I. Jane 2″ joke about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The comedian was confronted by Smith, who walked onstage and slapped Rock, The Associated Press reported.
After returning to his seat in the audience, Smith shouted, “Keep my wife’s name out of your (expletive) mouth,” Variety reported.
“LAPD investigative entities are aware of an incident between two individuals during the Academy Awards program. The incident involved one individual slapping another,” the LAPD said in a statement on Sunday night. “The individual involved has declined to file a police report. If the involved party desires a police report at a later date, LAPD will be available to complete an investigative report.”
Smith, who won an Oscar for best actor for his role in “King Richard” about an hour after his confrontation with Rock, returned to the stage and apologized to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences during his acceptance speech, the AP reported.
Smith apologized to Rock on Monday.
On Wednesday, the Academy initiated an investigation into the incident and said that Smith broke the organization’s code of conduct.
Smith was given 15 days’ notice of a vote regarding his violations and possible sanctions, and has the chance to provide a written response, the Academy said in a statement. The next board meeting is scheduled for April 18, Variety reported.
Rock, meanwhile, received a pair of standing ovations Wednesday night in his first appearance since the incident.
“Whoa, OK!” Rock exclaimed to the audience after walking on stage at Boston’s Wilbur Theatre, Variety reported. “Yo, let me do the show!”
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