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Was Will Smith Asked To Leave The Oscars Or Not? A New Report Is Calling Out The Academy's Story

Will Smith accepting his Oscar at the 2022 Academy Awards
(Image credit: ABC)

Deliberations on an official reaction to Will Smith’s slapping of Chris Rock continues, as the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is currently evaluating the situation. As the Oscars’ governing board announced “disciplinary proceedings” were underway, the claim was made that Smith was asked to leave the ceremony after the incident, but refused. However, a new counterclaim has come out, with unnamed sources alleging that this request was never made. 

The sources in question told their story to TMZ, which paints a different picture than the one The Academy did in their official statement. Reportedly, there was much debate over whether to eject the King Richard star before his Best Actor win that night. What apparently prevented such measures from being taken was a supposed lack of consensus between those in charge of the show.

Perhaps the most powerful allegation of all is the one assigned to one of the producers of the 94th Academy Awards, Will Packer. These same unnamed sources claim that Packer was firmly on the side of keeping Will Smith on hand for the duration of the show, going as far as to personally ask him not to leave. Supposedly, this is what Will Packer said when he personally spoke to Smith, in service of keeping him at last weekend's ceremony: 

We do not want you to leave.

What started as Chris Rock making a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith starring in G.I. Jane 2 turned into a moment that’s still being debated in the public eye. Reacting to the ill-received gag, Will Smith walked up to the stage where Rock was presenting the night’s winner for Best Documentary Feature, and slapped him in the face. Once seated, the two actors would engage in an argument that was mostly omitted from the U.S. telecast of 94th Academy Awards, due to its language. 

In the days that followed, questions about why Will Smith was allowed to remain at the ceremony after that moment have been part of the conversation. A divisive subject in the world of entertainment, some have condemned Smith’s actions, while others agree that Chris Rock had taken his humor a bit too far. 

Regarding how the two men at the center of this story have reacted, Will Smith has made a formal apology for his actions to Chris Rock through a public statement. Rock in the meantime has not only declined to press charges with the LAPD, he’s also refrained from talking about his “greatest night in the history of television” moment. Initial reports from his “Ego Death” standup tour have stated that he’ll eventually address the issue, but at the moment Chris Rock is still processing those events from The Oscars.

Naturally, this report is far from confirmed or definitive, and should be taken with great caution and scrutiny. Meanwhile, official proceedings involving the Will Smith/Chris Rock altercation will continue. Undoubtedly, these new allegations will be taken into account, and explored to the fullest extent.

CinemaBlend's James Bond (expert). Also versed in Large Scale Aggressors, time travel, and Guillermo del Toro. He fights for The User.