Will Smith most likely won’t face charges for slapping Chris Rock onstage at the Oscars because Rock declined to file a police report, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.
The LAPD released a statement on Sunday night, saying: “LAPD investigative entities are aware of an incident between two individuals during the Academy Awards program. The incident involved one individual slapping another. 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.”
Police officers were in the Dolby Theatre when Smith hit Rock as the comedian presented the award for best documentary. The shocking incident unfolded after Rock made a joke about the actor’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith.
“Jada I love you, G.I. Jane 2, can’t wait to see it,” the comedian said, referring to Pickett Smith’s bald head, which she has previously said is a result of Alopecia.
Many Hollywood insiders have spoken out about the slap, with some criticizing Smith while others defended the King Richard star.
“Will Smith is lucky his momma wasn’t there tonight. She would’ve kicked his a– for acting like that,” comedian George Wallace tweeted.
Actor and director Rob Reiner added on Twitter: “Will Smith owes Chris Rock a huge apology. There is no excuse for what he did. He’s lucky Chris is not filing assault charges. The excuses he made tonight were bullsh–.”
ESPN host Stephen A. Smith tweeted: “Didn’t know until just this moment about @jadapsmith having Alopecia. She’s wonderful and great. So is @willsmith — which we all know. They’re both phenomenal. But you do NOT do what Will did in that setting. Go backstage and handle that sh-t if you must. Horrible look!”
But comedian Tiffany Haddish, who attended the Oscars, had a different take on what unfolded. She told People magazine after the show: “When I saw a Black man stand up for his wife. That meant so much to me. As a woman, who has been unprotected, for someone to say like, ‘Keep my wife’s name out your mouth, leave my wife alone,’ that’s what your husband is supposed to do, right? Protect you. And that meant the world to me.”
Self-help guru and Iyanla Fix My Life star, Iyanla Vanzant, also defended Smith and tweeted: “Beloved Will Smith has set a whole new standard for what it means to “protect” and honor your wife – – – Be Mindful! And . . . in the midst of it, Beloved Mr. Will Packer did and amazingly phenomenal job producing this years’ Oscars! Yes to the Wills!”
Meanwhile, previous Oscars host Whoopi Goldberg said Monday on The View: “We’re not going to take that Oscar from him.”
“I get it. Not everybody acts the way we would like them to under pressure,” Goldberg added. “Some people just snap. He snapped. What I do want to say was that it was remarkable, wonderful, that Chris Rock did not take it to that other place it could’ve gone. I don’t know if they spoke or apologized or not. All I know is sometimes you get to a point where you behave badly. I myself have behaved badly on occasion.”
Later during the Oscars telecast, Will Smith apologized to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, but not to Rock.
“I want to apologize to the Academy, I want to apologize for all my fellow nominees,” Smith said in his acceptance speech after winning the best actor award.
The Academy, which hands out the Oscars, released a statement following the incident.
“The Academy does not condone violence of any form. Tonight we are delighted to celebrate our 94th Academy Awards winners, who deserve this moment of recognition from their peers and movie lovers around the world,” the statement said.
There are calls among some Hollywood insiders for the Academy to strip Smith of his Oscar.