Chris Rock Was 'Dismissive' of LAPD Arresting Will Smith

Meanwhile, Smith's apology call to Academy leadership is causing yet more controversy
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 1, 2022 12:06 AM CDT
LAPD Would Have Arrested Will Smith. Chris Rock Said No
Presenter Chris Rock, left, reacts after being hit on stage by Will Smith while presenting the award for best documentary feature at the Oscars on Sunday, March 27, 2022, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.   (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

(Newser) – After the Oscars slap heard 'round the world, Los Angeles Police Department officers approached Chris Rock and made it clear they would arrest Will Smith if that's what he wanted, according to an Academy Awards producer who sat down for an interview with Good Morning America that was teased Thursday on ABC's World News Tonight. The latest:

  • "They were saying, ‘This is battery.’ That was the word they used in that moment," Will Packer said, per ETOnline. "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. He was like, 'No, I’m fine' ... 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 interview will air in full Friday.

  • Meanwhile, news has come out that Smith apologized during a Zoom video call with Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences leadership earlier this week, and that they told him there would be "consequences," sources tell CNN.
  • Even that call is now causing controversy, Deadline explains, because the Academy's Board of Governors, which started disciplinary proceedings against Smith in a meeting yesterday, didn't know about the meeting until it made headlines. "Why would they keep this from us?” one person who participated in the Wednesday meeting says. “It only contributes to an atmosphere of suspicion and lack of leadership." Says another, "What else don’t we know about what’s happening or what happened on Sunday?" They say the "lack of transparency" will make it difficult to find a resolution.

  • Another issue that lacks clarity is just how firmly Smith was asked to leave the ceremony. The Academy said in a statement that Smith "refused" to do so, but sources close to Smith say he wasn't actually asked to leave—the idea was "floated," in Deadline's words, via Smith's publicist. One of CNN's sources says Academy leadership "firmly asked" the publicist to get Smith to leave, but the actor "refused and that was communicated back to Academy leadership."
  • Meanwhile, new videos from the ceremony are making the rounds. In one, Jada Pinkett Smith appears to laugh after Rock says that Smith "just smacked the s--- out of me," then appears to laugh again after the comedian says it was "the greatest night in the history of television." In another, Rock can be seen looking "stunned" after he finished presenting the award he was doling out at the time. Watch at Yahoo News.
(Read more Chris Rock stories.)

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