Will Smith met with Academy board members to discuss Chris Rock slap ahead of emergency meeting

Will Smith met with Academy board members to discuss Chris Rock slap ahead of emergency meeting

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Will Smith met with top brass at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences on Tuesday to discuss his now-viral slap of Chris Rock on the Oscars stage Sunday night.

Insiders familiar with the controversy said Smith had a Zoom meeting with Academy President David Rubin and CEO Dawn Hudson just one day before the film Academy released a statement confirming it “initiated disciplinary proceedings against Mr. 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.”

Actor Will Smith listens to testimony at the "The Next Ten Years In The Fight Against Human Trafficking: Attacking The Problem With The Right Tools" Committee Hearing at the Hart Senate Office Building on July 17, 2012 in Washington, D.C.

Actor Will Smith listens to testimony at the “The Next Ten Years In The Fight Against Human Trafficking: Attacking The Problem With The Right Tools” Committee Hearing at the Hart Senate Office Building on July 17, 2012 in Washington, D.C. ( Paul Morigi/WireImage)

A source told Variety Smith’s meeting with Rubin and Hudson lasted around a half-hour, while another claimed it featured a “brief” conversation. In it, Smith apologized to the Academy president and CEO for displaying violence on the Oscars stage. He also allegedly said he understands consequences will follow.

The Academy’s Board of Governors held an emergency meeting on Wednesday to discuss what went down at the 94th Academy Awards. Those in attendance said Rubin and Hudson did not mention they met with Smith over Zoom the day before.

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Will Smith accepts the award for best actor for his role in "King Richard" following his slap of Chris Rock.

Will Smith accepts the award for best actor for his role in “King Richard” following his slap of Chris Rock. (AP/Chris Pizzello)

“The Board of Governors today initiated disciplinary proceedings against Mr. 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 Academy’s statement on Wednesday obtained by Fox News Digital said.

“Mr. Smith was asked to leave the ceremony and refused, [but] we also recognize we could have handled the situation differently.” 

Penalties from the academy range from “suspension, expulsion or other sanctions permitted by the bylaws and standards of conduct.” The statement noted that the actor will receive a 15-day notice regarding “his violations and sanctions” as well as the “opportunity to be heard beforehand by means of a written response.”

Many have focused on why Smith was allowed to remain seated in the front row at the Academy Awards after the incident. On Wednesday, the academy said it attempted to remove the actor from the audience.

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“Mr. Smith’s actions at the 94th Oscars were a deeply shocking, traumatic event to witness in-person and on television,” the statement continued. “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.”

Will Smith, right, hits presenter Chris Rock on stage while presenting the award for best documentary feature at the Oscars on Sunday, March 27, 2022, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.

Will Smith, right, hits presenter Chris Rock on stage 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)

“Things unfolded in a way we could not have anticipated,” the academy said. “While we would like to clarify that Mr. Smith was asked to leave the ceremony and refused, we also recognize we could have handled the situation differently.”

A representative for the academy declined to give specifics on how it tried to remove Smith. After Smith struck Rock in response to a joke about wife Jada Pinkett Smith, several stars, including Denzel Washington, Bradley Cooper and Tyler Perry spoke to the 53-year-old Smith.

Reports swirled on Thursday claiming that the actor wasn’t directly asked to leave and that it was instead “suggested.” But it appears the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences is standing behind its statement that Will Smith was “asked to leave the ceremony and refused.”

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Will Smith, left, and Jada Pinkett Smith arrive at the Oscars on Sunday, March 27, 2022, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. 

Will Smith, left, and Jada Pinkett Smith arrive at the Oscars on Sunday, March 27, 2022, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.  (AP)

A source at the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences told Fox News that the Academy also looks forward to the April 18 meeting when disciplinary actions may be taken. The source added that they believe the “King Richard” star did violate the Academy’s Standards of Conduct.

On Wednesday night, Rock was greeted with a three-minute-long standing ovation before his first comedy show, which was in Boston, since the slap.

The comedian first addressed the crowd by joking, “How was your weekend?” 

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“I had a whole list of jokes. I had a whole show I wrote before this weekend, and I’m still kind of processing what happened,” he added.

The marquee advertises Chris Rock as ticket holders wait to enter outside the Wilbur Theatre, Wednesday, March 30, 2022, in Boston. 

The marquee advertises Chris Rock as ticket holders wait to enter outside the Wilbur Theatre, Wednesday, March 30, 2022, in Boston.  (AP Photo/Mary Schwalm)

“At some point I’ll talk about that s—, and it will be serious, and it will be funny,” Rock continued. 

Smith took to Instagram on Monday night to publicly apologize to Rock, but has been silent since.

Reps for the Academy and Smith did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.