Welp. Will Smith was never actually asked to leave Sunday’s Academy Awards, according to multiple new claims.
Wednesday, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences revealed it began its “disciplinary proceedings” against Will Smith for slapping Chris Rock at the Oscars ceremony. The organization also said they asked Smith to leave the show, but he refused. However, sources with direct knowledge of the incident said Smith was never formally asked to leave the Dolby Theater and was even told by an official and producers that he could stay, TMZ reports.
The outlet also reports that while there were some Academy members who expressed they wanted Smith booted from the show, a consensus was never reached, and no formal ask was ever made.
Variety also reports that show producer Will Packer was the “key” to Smith remaining at the show. Witnesses claimed they saw Packer walk out into the orchestra roughly 30 minutes following the slap and told Smith production wanted him to stay for the remainder of the telecast.
Packer has not formally commented on those claims.
As previously reported, Will Smith took the stage during Sunday’s Oscars ceremony and slapped comedian Chris Rock after he joked about Jada Pinkett-Smith’s hair.