The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has launched a “formal review” after actor Will Smith struck comedian Chris Rock on stage during the Oscars awards show.
The group behind the film awards said on Monday it “condemns the actions of Mr Smith at last night’s show”, according to a statement provided to the Associated Press.
“We have officially started a formal review around the incident and will explore further action and consequences in accordance with our bylaws, standards of conduct and California law,” the Academy added.
Smith walked on to the stage at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles on Sunday evening and slapped Rock, who was there to present the award for best documentary.
Rock had made a joke about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, who has a shaved head and has spoken publicly about her hair loss. “Jada, I love you. ‘GI Jane 2’, can’t wait to see it,” Rock said.
After hitting Rock, Smith returned to his seat and yelled profanities at the comedian in an altercation that was censored from the US broadcast of the awards show.
Smith later won the best actor award for his performance in King Richard. In his speech, Smith apologised to the Academy, but not to Rock, and referred to Richard Williams — the father of tennis stars Serena and Venus Williams, who, he depicted in the film — as “a fierce defender of his family”.
On the night of the incident, the Academy said in a statement on Twitter that it “does not condone violence of any form”.
The Los Angeles Police Department said on Sunday evening that it was aware of an incident at the Oscars but the person involved had declined to file a police report, the Associated Press reported.
It remained unclear what consequences Smith could face as a result of the Academy’s review of the fight. Whoopi Goldberg, who sits on the Academy’s board of governors, said on the Monday edition of ABC’s The View that “we’re not going to take that Oscar from him”.
“There will be consequences, I’m sure”, she added.