Academy launches formal review after Will Smith slaps Chris Rock on the Oscars stage

Different angles to the scene

Chris Rock declined to file a police report Sunday after
Will Smith slapped him onstage at the Academy Awards, Los Angeles police appeared to confirm.

But now the Academy says it will investigate on its own, releasing a statement Monday afternoon: "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 goes one step further than what the Academy said just after Sunday night's show, which was basically that it didn't condone violence.

The moment that shocked Hollywood and millions of viewers came after Rock made a joke about a “G.I. Jane” sequel, referencing Jada Pinkett Smith’s bald head. (Actress Demi Moore appeared in the 1997 movie with a shaved head.)

Smith appeared to laugh at first, before walking up to the stage, slapping Rock, returning to his seat and yelling, “Keep my wife's name out of your (expletive) mouth.”

Pinkett Smith was seen rolling her eyes after Rock's joke at the awards show.

In 2018, she confirmed that she was diagnosed with alopecia, an autoimmune skin disease that can cause hair loss on the scalp and on other parts of the body.

The Los Angeles Police Department said in a statement that it was “aware of an incident between two individuals during the Academy Awards program.".

“The incident involved one individual slapping another,” the LAPD said. “The individual involved has declined to file a police report. If the involved party desires a police report at a later date, LAPD will be available to complete an investigative report.”

USA TODAY has reached out to Rock’s representatives for additional information.

Still, the slap seen around the world spurred much discussion from viewers. Could Will Smith face charges? Can the Academy rescind his Oscar?

Here is what we know.
Could Will Smith face assault charges?

Smith's slap was assault and battery under California law, and any watching police officer in the building could have immediately removed Smith from the stage, according to legal analyst Aron Solomon, who says he checked California statutes after the incident witnessed by millions.

"The immediate question (online) is was it a crime, and statutorily it's clear it was assault and battery – there was actual physical contact – and that's a misdemeanor," says Solomon, chief legal analyst for Esquire Digital in Philadelphia, which helps lawyers grow their practices. "Generally both are punishable by a fine of $2,000 and up to six months in county jail."

Alleged misdemeanors in LA are handled by the Los Angeles City Attorney's office. USA TODAY has reached out for a comment.

But if Rock doesn't press charges, prosecution may be unlikely.

'I was out of line': Will Smith apologizes to Chris Rock after slapping him at Oscars over joke

What did Will Smith, the Academy say about the slap?

After the incident, Smith accepted the award for best actor for his performance as Venus and Serena Williams’ father in “King Richard,” saying: “I know to do what we do, you’ve got to be able to take abuse; you’ve got to be able to have people talk crazy about you. In this business you’ve got to be able to have people disrespecting you. And you got to smile, and you've got to pretend like that’s OK."
~Courtesy, Yahoo News

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