The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences has “initiated disciplinary proceedings” against actor Will Smith over his actions at Sunday’s Oscars, the group announced on Wednesday.
“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 organization behind the Oscars said in a statement.
The statement also claims that Smith was asked to leave the ceremony after the incident “and refused.” The Academy said it recognizes “we could have handled the situation differently.”
Smith has come under fire in recent days after he stormed the stage on Sunday and slapped presenter Chris Rock after Rock made a joke about Smith’s wife, actress Jada Pinkett Smith.
“Mr. Smith’s actions at the 94th Oscars were a deeply shocking, traumatic event to witness in-person and on television. Mr. Rock, we apologize to you for what you experienced on our stage and thank you for your resilience in that moment,” the statement added. “We also apologize to our nominees, guests and viewers for what transpired during what should have been a celebratory event.”
Another board meeting is set to take place on April 18, at which time, “the Academy may take any disciplinary action, which may include suspension, expulsion, or other sanctions permitted by the Bylaws and Standards of Conduct,” the statement said.
“Consistent with the Academy’s Standards of Conduct, as well as California law, Mr. Smith is being provided at least 15 days’ notice of a vote regarding his violations and sanctions, and the opportunity to be heard beforehand by means of a written response,” the statement said.
CNN has reached out to Smith’s representatives for comment.
Still the talk of the town
The strong statement from the Academy comes as the conversation over the slap heard around the world was showing no signs of cooling.
Rock has remained publicly silent on the incident, so all eyes are on the start of his comedy tour, which kicks off Wednesday night in Boston.
Comedians Wanda Sykes and Amy Schumer, two of the three hosts on Sunday night, also spoke out on Wednesday with strong words of support for Rock, as did Rock’s brother.
Meanwhile, Smith has maintained a low profile on social media since issuing his lengthy apology on Monday.
“I was out of line and I was wrong,” he wrote in part. “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.”
Smith’s apology was not enough, however, to quell the reaction from Academy leaders, who said in a letter to members on Wednesday that they were “upset and outraged.”
This came as many leveled criticism toward the Academy for its handling of the incident on Sunday night.
Sykes told Ellen DeGeneres on an appearance on her talk show that she felt Smith should have been escorted out.
“For them to let him stay in that room and enjoy the rest of the show and accept his award, I was like, ‘How gross is this? This is just the wrong message,'” she said.