As if the last 16 hours of Slap Discourse on Twitter hasn’t been exhausting enough, new statements from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and reports about internal conversations between the members imply the blowback from Will Smith striking Chris Rock during the Oscars broadcast may be far from over.
Much has been made of the decision to let Smith not only continue attending the show, but accept his award and give a five-minute speech—which did end with him apologizing to the Academy and his nominees for his actions—with what seems like zero consequences so far. Last night, The Academy’s official Twitter account released a statement saying “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.” It’s been reported that on-site LAPD officers approached Smith backstage after the incident, but Rock declined to file a police report. Smith went on to enjoy the Oscars afterparty circuit.
CNN and the New York Times have both reported that Academy leadership members “strongly considered” removing Smith, but the incident happened too close to the announcing of the Best Actor category, for which he was highly favored to win. With members unable to come to a quick unanimous decision, they let the show carry on instead.
But apparently Smith isn’t out of the clear. A meeting between a handful of Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences members this morning yielded no hard decisions just yet, but CNN’s sources say it was “heated” and “divided.” Meanwhile a new statement released from the Academy reads: “The Academy condemns the actions of Mr. Smith at last night’s show. We have officially started a formal review around the incident and will explore further action and consequences in accordance with our Bylaws, Standards of Conduct and California law.” This fuels chatter from last night that members are considering asking Smith to return his statue if they find he has violated said bylaws. If the award is indeed rescinded, it might pour gasoline on an already incendiary debate.