Will Smith accepts the award for Best Actor in a Leading Role for “King Richard” onstage during the 94th Oscars at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, California on March 27, 2022.
Robyn Beck | Afp | Getty Images
Will Packer, who produced the 2022 Academy Awards ceremony, has spoken out about Sunday’s incident in which Will Smith slapped Chris Rock on stage.
In a preview clip of ABC’s Good Morning America interview with Packer, which is set to air in its entirety on Friday, the producer said the Los Angeles Police Department was ready to arrest the Oscar-winning actor until Rock declined to press charges.
“They were saying, you know, this is battery was the word they use in that moment,” Packer said in the clip. “They said we will go get him; we are prepared. We’re prepared to get him right now. You can press charges. We can arrest him. They were laying out the options, and as they were talking, Chris was being very dismissive of those options. He was like, ‘No, I’m fine.’ He was like, ‘No, no, no.'”
Packer told “GMA” he did not speak with Smith during the night of the Oscars.
On Wednesday, the organization behind the Oscars said its board of governors have initiated a disciplinary proceeding against Smith for violating the group’s standards of conduct. During the board’s next meeting on April 18, it will decide what action it will take, if any, including suspension or expulsion.
According to the Academy, Smith was asked to leave the ceremony, but refused. However, the Hollywood Reporter reported that Smith was not formally asked to leave, citing several sources.
Smith apologized to the Academy and his fellow nominees during his acceptance speech on Sunday and publicly apologized to Rock via social media on Monday.