Police offered to arrest Will Smith, but Chris Rock declined: Oscars producertext_fields
Los Angeles: Los Angeles police were present at the Dolby Theatre and offered to arrest actor Will Smith for slapping presenter Chris Rock, the producer of the Academy Awards said on Thursday. The authorities, however, did not any action because Rock declined to press charges against Smith, producer Will Packer said.
In his first public comments since the shocking episode that tainted Hollywood's most important evening, Packer said he had sat with Rock when officers came to speak to him.
Packer said LAPD officers told Rock, "This is battery" and that he could press charges, and they were prepared to arrest Smith that night.
"They said, we will go get him. We are prepared. We are prepared to get him right now. You can press charges. We can arrest him. They were laying out the options," Packer told ABC. "
"Chris was -- he was being very dismissive of those options. He was like, 'I'm fine.'"
Police in Los Angeles said Sunday that Rock had declined to file a report.
Smith shocked the entertainment world by mounting the stage during the live broadcast of the Oscars and hitting Rock over a joke about the actor's wife.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the body that awards the Oscars, said Wednesday Smith had been asked to leave the ceremony after the assault, but had refused.
The Academy said Wednesday it was mulling punishment -- including possible expulsion -- for Smith, one of Hollywood's most bankable stars, and only the fifth Black man to win a leading actor Oscar.
"The Board of Governors today initiated disciplinary proceedings against Mr. Will Smith for violations of the Academy's Standards of Conduct, including inappropriate physical contact, abusive or threatening behavior, and compromising the integrity of the Academy," the statement said.
"The Academy may take any disciplinary action, which may include suspension, expulsion, or other sanctions."
Trade title Variety reported Thursday that Academy chiefs Dawn Hudson and David Rubin spoke with Smith on Tuesday, 24 hours before the organization issued its damning statement.
It quoted sources saying the Zoom meeting had lasted up to 30 minutes.
During the conversation Smith apologized for his attack on Rock, and said he was aware there would be consequences, Variety reported.
Rock, whose US comedy tour began in Boston this week told audience members he was "still kind of processing" the incident.
He made no further comment.