Oscar Producer: LAPD Was Prepared to Arrest Will Smith After Oscar Slap

94th Annual Academy Awards - Show

Photo: Getty Images

HOLLYWOOD (CNS) - Los Angeles police were backstage at the Dolby Theatre after Will Smith smacked Chris Rock on stage during the Oscars, and officers were prepared to arrest the eventual best-actor winner, but the comedian said he did not want to press any charges, the show's producer said in an interview today.

Speaking with ABC's ``Good Morning America'' for a segment set to air Friday, Will Packer said police were ready to take Smith into custody after the Sunday night altercation.

``They were saying, `This is battery,''' Packer said. ``That was the word they used in that moment. They said, `We will go get him. We are prepared.

We will go get him right now. You can press charges. We can arrest him.'

``They were laying out the options, and as they were talking, Chris was, he was being very dismissive of those options,'' Packer said. ``He was like, `No, I'm fine' ... even to the point where I said, `Rock, let them finish.' The LAPD officers finish laying out what his options were. And they said, `Would you like us to take any action?' And he said, `No.'''

The Los Angeles Police Department issued a statement Sunday night saying Rock had declined to pursue any charges against Smith.

``LAPD investigative entities are aware of an incident between two individuals during the Academy Awards program,'' according to the department.

``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.''

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences issued a statement Wednesday saying Smith ``was asked to leave the ceremony'' after the altercation, but he refused to do so.

But various media outlets Thursday cited unnamed sources within the Academy who challenged that suggestion, saying Smith was never directly asked to leave the ceremony. A source told Variety that Academy executives made the request through a Smith representative. But other sources suggested that Packer specifically told Smith he could remain in the Dolby Theatre.

Rock made his first public appearance Wednesday night since the Oscars, performing in Boston to begin a worldwide stand-up tour. He mentioned the incident at the beginning of the show, telling the crowd he was ``still kind of processing what happened.''

``So, at some point, I'll talk about that (expletive), and it will be serious, and funny,'' he said.

According to the Academy's statement Wednesday, the organization's Board of Governors formally initiated ``disciplinary proceedings'' against Smith for violations of Academy Standards of Conduct, ``including inappropriate physical contact, abusive or threatening behavior, and compromising the integrity of the Academy.''

Smith was given advance notice of a vote regarding the violations and possible sanctions, and will have a chance to submit a written response, according to the organization.

``At the next board meeting on April 18, the Academy may take any disciplinary action, which may include suspension, expulsion or other sanctions permitted by the bylaws and Standards of Conduct,'' according to the Academy.

``Mr. Smith's actions at the 94th Oscars were a deeply shocking, traumatic event to witness in-person and on television,'' the Academy stated.

``Mr. Rock, we apologize to you for what you experienced on our stage and thank you for your resilience in that moment. We also apologize to our nominees, guests and viewers for what transpired during what should have been a celebratory event.''

Rock was on the Dolby Theatre stage Sunday night to present the Oscar for best documentary feature, but he made a joke about Smith's wife -- actress Jada Pinkett Smith -- and her bald head, suggesting she would be starring in a sequel to ``G.I. Jane.''

Pinkett Smith has talked in the past about having the hair-loss condition alopecia.

Smith, who was seated in the front of the theater, walked onto the stage and smacked Rock across the face, then returned to his seat, screaming at Rock twice, telling him to ``keep my wife's name out of your (expletive) mouth.''

When he later won the best actor Oscar for ``King Richard'' -- for his portrayal of the father of tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams -- he tearfully apologized to the Academy and his fellow nominees, but not to Rock.

Smith issued a formal written apology Monday, saying, ``Violence in all of its forms is poisonous and destructive.''

``My behavior at last night's Academy Awards was unacceptable and inexcusable. Jokes at my expense are a part of the job, but a joke about Jada's medical condition was too much for me to bear and I reacted emotionally,'' he said.

``I would like to publicly apologize to you, Chris. I was out of line and I was wrong. I am embarrassed and my actions were not indicative of the man I want to be. There is no place for violence in a world of love and kindness.

``I would also like to apologize to the Academy, the producers of the show, all the attendees and everyone watching around the world. I would like to apologize to the Williams family and my `King Richard' family. I deeply regret that my behavior has stained what has been an otherwise gorgeous journey for all of us.

``I am a work in progress.''

Sponsored Content

Sponsored Content