A meeting of the Oscars academy to discuss “possible sanctions” against Will Smith after he slapped Chris Rock at the awards ceremony has been brought forward. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences said the session – originally scheduled for April 18 – would now happen this Friday (April 8) in a bid to deal with the incident “in a timely fashion”.
President David Rubin wrote to the board of governors on Wednesday (April 6) morning saying the disciplinary hearing would be brought forward. Smith resigned his membership of the Academy, which organises the Oscars, last week.
Smith said he would accept any consequences that emerge from the meeting. The star won Best Actor for King Richard at the ceremony last month, minutes after storming the stage and slapping Chris Rock when the comedian made a joke about his wife Jada Pinkett Smith’s shaved head.
Mr Rubin’s letter to the board said the meeting would “address possible sanctions for Will Smith in response to his actions during the Oscars broadcast”. It continued: “The April 18 date was set in accordance with California law and our Standards of Conduct because our agenda included possible suspension or expulsion of Mr Smith from membership.
“We were required to provide Mr Smith notice 15 days prior to the board meeting at which such action might be taken, and also give him the opportunity to provide the board a written statement no less than five days prior to that meeting.”
He added that following Smith’s resignation “suspension or expulsion are no longer a possibility and the legally prescribed timetable no longer applies. It is in the best interest of all involved for this to be handled in a timely fashion”.
Smith, known for The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air and Hollywood blockbusters such as I Am Legend, has apologised to Rock, his fellow nominees and the winners. He admitted in a statement on Instagram that he had reacted “emotionally” to the joke, but said “violence in all its forms is poisonous and destructive”.
Prior to his resignation, Hollywood trade outlet Variety reported that Smith had met leaders of the Academy to discuss his outburst and apologised to Mr Rubin and chief executive Dawn Hudson.