As questions swirl about potential discipline for Will Smith after he slapped comedian Chris Rock at the Oscars, a member of the film academy’s board of governors, Whoopi Goldberg, says the actor will keep his award.
“We’re not going to take that Oscar from him,” Goldberg, an Oscar winner and former host of the event, said Monday on ABC’s “The View.”
“There will be consequences, I’m sure, but I don’t think that’s what they’ll do — particularly because Chris said, ‘Listen, I’m not pressing any charges.’”
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has not made any statement to that effect, though it condemned Smith’s actions and said it would launch a formal review of the incident.
In response to a request for comment on Goldberg’s remarks, the academy repeated its earlier statement that it ”will explore further action and consequences in accordance with our Bylaws, Standards of Conduct and California law.”
Police said Rock had declined to file a police report.
Earlier in the “View” segment, Goldberg said she could empathize with Smith, saying he overreacted and appeared to “snap” under pressure. She noted that there was “a lot of stuff probably built up” from jokes made about the couple’s marriage in the past.
On Sunday night, Smith won the coveted lead actor award for his performance as the father of tennis legends Serena and Venus Williams, Richard Williams, in “King Richard.”
The win was marred by a jaw-dropping incident minutes earlier, when the actor walked onstage and struck Rock across the face after the comedian made a joke about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, having a shaved head. She had shaved off her hair last year after publicly sharing her struggles with alopecia.
During Smith’s acceptance speech, he apologized to the academy and his fellow acting nominees, but not to Rock. On Monday, however, he issued an apology on Instagram saying, “I was out of line and I was wrong.”
According to the academy’s standards of conduct, “There is no place in the Academy for people who abuse their status, power or influence in a manner that violates recognized standards of decency.”
“If any member is found by the Board of Governors to have violated these standards or to have compromised the integrity of the Academy by their actions, the Board of Governors may take any disciplinary action permitted by the Academy’s Bylaws, including suspension or expulsion.”
Goldberg sits on the board alongside actors Laura Dern and Rita Wilson, and 51 other prominent members of the film industry.