The Will Smith drama continues. After The Academy released a statement yesterday specifying that the Oscar-winning King Richard actor was asked to leave, sources at Variety, with knowledge of the minutes that followed what’s now being referred to as “The Slap” say the opposite, that he was never formally asked to leave. The piece reads as follows:
“They claim that some Academy members expressed that they wanted Smith removed, but they also say that no formal or explicit ask was ever made. Another person familiar with the Academy said that Smith was asked to leave through an on-site representative. That call was made by Academy president David Rubin and CEO Dawn Hudson, who, a source says, asked for Smith to leave the show instead of remaining in the auditorium for the rest of the telecast.
Show producer Will Packer, sources inside the Dolby said, was the key to Smith remaining in his seat. In the roughly 30 minutes following Smith’s attack on Rock, before the award for best actor was presented, Packer walked out into the orchestra and conferred with Smith, according to two witnesses. Packer said that he and the production “officially” wanted Smith to stay for the remainder of the show, according to one of the witnesses. Another source close to Packer denied that the producer urged Smith to remain.”
We already know that Smith talked to Denzel Washington, Bradley Cooper and Tyler Perry after the incident occurred, but he may have never been formally asked to leave. Would’ve he’d done if The Academy asked him formally? Because he did win the Oscar a mere thirty minutes later and was met with a standing ovation by everyone in the audience! So it may look like The Academy was trying to save face with the last part of its statement, but it’s really a question of “you had to be there” to truly know what happened, and by “being there” it meant behind-the-scenes of it all. They’re the only ones that reacted to Smith’s behavior and know exactly what went down. Other than that, we’re likely going to get different versions of the event in the next few days when disciplinary action will be brought against Will Smith.