Could the Academy take away Will Smith's Oscar? Experts weigh in
CHICAGO - Will Smith issued an apology to Chris Rock on Monday, as the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences launches an investigation into Smith’s actions during the 94th Academy Awards.
Smith, on Sunday, walked on-stage and slapped the comedian over a joke – the ordeal, unfolding on live TV.
Now, questions remain over what consequences Smith might face.
In a theater full of Hollywood A-listers, it's that moment which overshadowed this year’s Oscars – with video of the ordeal being re-played around the globe.
"This was an assault and battery. There is no other way of looking at it. It is why the LAPD beelined it for Chris Rock and said, ‘do you want to file a police report?’" said Harvey Levin, TMZ host.
MORE: Oscars 2022: Academy condemns Will Smith's actions, launches review after smackdown with Chris Rock
Rock declined to press charges, but Levin tells FOX 32 that a source close to Rock said the comedian was bewildered and upset following the incident.
Smith slapped Rock after making a G.I. Jane joke about his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, who has been open with her struggles with Alopecia.
"What Chris Rock said may have been offensive, but you’re not allowed to hit somebody because you’re offended by non-threatening language," said Levin.
Smith, who won his first Oscar for his role in King Richard just minutes after he lashed out, apologized to Rock on Instagram Monday stating: "I was out of line, and I was wrong."
In his apology post, Smith also called his actions ‘unacceptable’ and ‘inexcusable,’ stating that violence in all forms is ‘poisonous.’
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The Academy tweeted that it does not condone violence of any form, and released a statement condemning Smith’s actions. It confirmed that it has "started a formal review around the incident and will explore further action and consequences."
MORE: Will Smith's son Jaden responds to his dad's viral Oscars smackdown with Chris Rock
"Look, what could they do, theoretically, they could take his Oscar away, I don’t think they’re going to do that, I think that would cause a riot," said Levin. "They could just censure him, which is my guess what they’re going to do."
Rock, on Monday, remained silent on social media and has not publicly responded to the incident.