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Tony’s Issues New Violence Policy After Oscars Slap Incident

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(Image credit: Tony Awards)

For the past month now, the fallout of Will Smith slapping Chris Rock during the 2022 Oscars live in front of Hollywood and a worldwide telecast continues to be a hot topic. With the next major award show set to be the American Theatre Wing's Tony Awards, the production has already detailed new policies to make sure any other public incidents of its kind have clear regulations. 

In an FAQ portion of a Tony Awards letter, reportedly being sent out to possible ticket buyers for the upcoming show, producers have outlined a “strict no violence policy.” In the letter it says the following, per The Hollywood Reporter

In the event of an incident, the perpetrator will be removed from the event immediately.

Since the viral moment between Will Smith and Chris Rock occurred on March 27 during the Academy Awards, there has been a lot of dialogue regarding what measures the production should have taken following the slap. Following Smith going up on stage and slapping Rock ahead of the comedian presenting an Oscar, the show’s producer Will Packer shared that there were conversations to escort Smith out of the show with the LAPD, but Rock was “dismissive” of taking action. 

Not long after the incident, Will Smith won his first Oscar for King Richard to a standing ovation from the crowd and gave an emotional speech about being “called on” to “protect people” in his life. Smith later formally apologized to Chris Rock and later decided to resign from the Academy ahead of a board meeting about consequences to the slap. The Academy also ultimately banned Smith from their award show for the next decade. 

The Tony Awards decision to include a violence policy makes sense in terms of outlining a specific course of action if something of similar nature was to occur. It’s clear many of these award shows had not planned beforehand for something like this to ever happen, but now that it has, there are some internal conversations occurring to make sure the productions can react in a swift way, should it happen again. 

After COVID-19 shut down Broadway in 2020 and 2021, the Tony Awards are finally back to celebrate live theater on Sunday, June 12 in New York City’s Radio City Music Hall. The 75th annual edition of the award show will be broadcast live from coast-to-coast on CBS and in part for those with a Paramount+ subscription

Tony Award nominations are going to be announced on May 3. Among the new musicals expected to be in the running is Michael R. Jackson’s A Strange Loop, Bob Dylan musical Girl From The North Country, pop musical Six and Billy Crystal-led Mr. Saturday Night. Hollywood actors like Hugh Jackman, Beanie Feldstein, Ruth Negga, Sarah Jessica Parker and Sam Rockwell could be among the talent being nominated, per Gold Derby. We’ll keep you posted here on CinemaBlend with future award show coverage. 

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