Forcibly removing Will Smith from the 94th Academy Awards after he slapped Chris Rock in the face on Sunday (March 27) was never an option, TMZ reported.
Earlier reports that stated that members of the The Academy's executive board asked Will to leave the ceremony, but sources have now revealed they "lied" about that –– in fact, a source shared with TMZ that Will was told by producers that he could stay, a report published Thursday (March 31) claims. Insiders with the Los Angeles Police Department told TMZ they were never asked about getting Will removed from the Dolby Theater –– something they would have done if The Academy had asked.
Will rocked the awards show with the now-infamous slap and two warnings he yelled on stage to Chris who was presenting the award for Best Documentary: "Keep my wife's name out of your f––king mouth." The incident went down after Chris made a reference to Jada Pinkett-Smith's closely-trimmed hair. The actress has come out publicly detailing her journey with alopecia –– an autoimmune medical condition that leads to hair loss.
Academy President David Rubin and Academy CEO Dawn Hudson were reportedly "furious" at Will after the shocking moment and there was plenty of yelling backstage between the execs and Will's reps. Insiders told TMZ that the Academy's execs made it clear that they wanted the actor out of the awards ceremony, though the exact words used to relay the message aren't known.
Will later collected his first-ever Academy Award and was apparently allowed to do so, because Academy leaders didn't want to make the situation any worse.
Will apologized while collecting his trophy, stating "Love will make you do crazy things." He followed up on Monday (March 28) on Instagram, apologizing directly to Chris and the family of Venus and Serena Williams, who he portrayed in the award-winning film, King Richard.
The Academy announced this week that it initiated a "formal review" of the incident. Chris Rock has not filed a police report.