Conflicting reports over whether Will Smith asked to leave Oscars after Chris Rock slap

"We also recognize we could have handled the situation differently," the organization said.

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Thursday, March 31, 2022
Conflicting reports over whether Will Smith asked to leave Oscars
There are conflicting reports as to whether or not Will Smith was asked to leave the Oscars prior to winning the Academy Award for Best Actor.

Will Smith remains at the center of Hollywood controversy for his slap of Chris Rock at the Oscars, though there are conflicting reports as to whether or not the star was asked to leave prior to winning the Academy Award for Best Actor.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences maintains that someone asked Smith to exit the theater following his ugly outburst Sunday night, and that he refused, but several media outlets are reporting the opposite.

It all comes as Rock has returned to the stage, saying he's still trying to process what happened.

"The only person anybody should be focusing on is Will," Whoopi Goldberg said on "The View" Thursday.

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Rock declined to press charges over the incident, but the immediate response remains unclear. It's possible that both could have been happening at the same time, as all involved scrambled to find a solution.

Goldberg, who is a member of the Academy but was not there, says forcing Smith to leave at that moment on live TV would have made things worse.

As for Rock, a sold out crowd in Boston gave him a heroes welcome as the comedian took the stage for the first time since the Oscars debacle.

According to ABC News, Rock reportedly took the stage after a quick show from his opening act. When Rock appeared on stage, everyone stood on their feet and greeted him with cheers and applause.

When the crowd finally calmed down, Rock reportedly told the crowd he had an entire show prepared before "what happened" and that he will address the incident eventually. He said the material he prepared was done in advance and joked that he didn't have time to change it.

"I'm still kind of processing what happened," said Rock according to audio from the show obtained by Variety. "So ... at some point, I'll talk about (the slap.)"

The Board of Governors is trying to figure out its next move ahead of an April 18 meeting, though it is vowing to take action against Smith that could include suspension, expulsion or other sanctions.

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The film academy earlier condemned Smith's onstage assault of Rock, but it used stronger language Wednesday.

"Mr. Smith's actions at the 94th Oscars were a deeply shocking, traumatic event to witness in-person and on television," the academy said. "Mr. Rock, we apologize to you for what you experienced on our stage and thank you for your resilience in that moment. We also apologize to our nominees, guests and viewers for what transpired during what should have been a celebratory event."

On Monday, Smith issued an apology to Rock, the academy and to viewers, saying "I was out of line and I was wrong."