Will Smith faces a two-week fight to save his career as the Academy mulls taking away his Oscar – with the star planning to ‘beg for forgiveness’ in a letter to awards bosses.
The Best Actor winner is set for a ‘D-Day’ hearing with the Academy on April 18 where he will find out ‘if he still has an Oscar – and a career’, an insider said.
Smith will also call Oscars chiefs ‘in the next 24 hours’ to plead his case – before the showdown panel later this month.
Will Smith’s Oscar – and career – reportedly ‘hang in the balance’ as he prepares to face an Academy hearing on April 18
One Oscars attendee said Smith’s dancing at the Vanity Fair after-party (pictured) didn’t help his cause. ‘That doesn’t exactly say, “I’m sorry for what I’ve done and I’m ashamed”. It’s more, “I don’t care”.’ Smith apologized for the slap 24 hours later.
As evidenced by her unamused expression, Pinkett Smith did not appreciate the joke – though she did laugh after the slap
‘Things are hanging in the balance. He will write an official letter to apologize, and effectively beg for their forgiveness’, the source close to the actor told The Sun.
‘April 18 is D-Day, though — he will find out if he still has an Oscar, and quite possibly, a career’, they continued.
The actor’s other projects in the can, including Bad Boys 4 and Apple slavery drama Emancipation, are now up in the air as studio heads refuse to ‘pick sides too early’.
Smith added insult to injury by defending the slap in his Best Actor speech and dancing with his family at the Vanity Fair after party.
One Oscars attendee told the paper: ‘That doesn’t exactly say, “I’m sorry for what I’ve done and I’m ashamed”. It’s more, “I don’t care”.’
The dramatic development follows the revelation that Chris Rock refused to have Will Smith arrested.
Oscars producer Will Packer said Rock was asked if he wanted Smith removed and pinched for battery.
Packer says cops told Rock: ‘We will go get him, we are prepared to get him right now. You can press charges. We can arrest him’, according to Good Morning America.
But Rock batted down the offer and replied: ‘No, I’m fine. No, no, no’, Packer said.
Academy governor Whoopi Goldberg insisted that Smith was asked to leave, but there were fears he was ‘manic’ and would make a scene if security tried to physically escort him out.
‘I think that he was asked to leave,’ said Goldberg on The View.
‘Picture — they come back from back from break, now if [Smith] is in some sort of state and he’s struggling and you’re trying to get him out the door and it’s still on camera.’
She added that Oscar producers and organizers even considered the possibility that Smith was having ‘a manic moment, because that’s not what he’s known for, smacking people and stuff.’
Goldberg was not present at the Oscars and stressed that she was not speaking on behalf of the Academy’s board of directors.
Chris Rock declined to press charges, but the LAPD confirmed Sunday he can still ask for a full police investigation to take place.
Meanwhile Smith now faces formal disciplinary proceedings with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS).
He could face ‘suspension, expulsion or other sanctions’ by AMPAS – including having his Oscar taken away.
The Academy wrote Wednesday: ‘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.’
Packer’s interview, which will air Friday at 7am on ABC, comes as insiders claimed Rock, 57, was never asked if Smith should be removed from the ceremony after the attack.
‘No one ever asked Chris if Will should leave. They never consulted him. It was the Oscars producer Will Packer who made the final decision to let Will stay,’ an insider told The New York Post.
The witnesses claim Packer walked up to the actor and said: ‘We do not want you to leave.’
Other insiders echoed the claim, alleging the producer was ‘the key’ to Smith being permitted to stay for the remainder of the show.
‘Packer walked out into the orchestra and conferred with Smith,’ two witnesses confirmed to Variety. ‘Packer said that he and the production “officially” wanted Smith to stay for the remainder of the show, according to one of the witnesses.’
Chris Rock briefly addressed last weekend’s Oscars slap during a show at Boston’s Wilbur Theater Wednesday night
Dressed all in white, Rock took to the stage at the Wilbur and asked: ‘So, how was your weekend?’ He largely skirted the slap
Rock struck a sincere tone as he said he would address the Will Smith incident when he’s finished ‘processing’ it
Tickets for Rock’s Boston shows have now been spotted selling for thousands of dollars on resale sites such as StubHub
Despite these allegations, Packer told GMA that he did not directly speak with Smith at the Oscars.
Reports also claimed Oscars president David Rubin and CEO Dawn Hudson asked the Men in Black actor to leave the ceremony after the emotional outburst.
But sources who allegedly witnessed discussions amongst Academy leaders claim there was never any attempt to remove Smith from the ceremony.
Officials were reportedly split on whether to remove the star and a consensus was never reached, TMZ reported.
Smith met with Oscars bosses on Tuesday to discuss the fallout from the attack, Variety reported.
People familiar with the meeting claim Rubin and Hudson talked to Smith on Zoom for roughly 30 minutes.
One source alleged Smith apologized to the Academy leaders for his actions and expressed he was aware that there would be consequences.
Chris Rock was stunned after Smith came onstage and slapped him for making a joke about wife Jada Pinkett Smith’s hair
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air alum also attempted to justify why he snapped at Rock’s joke towards wife Jada Pinkett Smith, the insider claimed.
However, attendees at Wednesday’s emergency meeting of the Academy’s Board of Governors told the magazine they did not recall Rubin or Hudson mentioning the alleged discussion with Smith.
The disciplinary actions could include a possible year-long ban from the Oscars, which would also prevent Smith being nominated for awards.
The 53-year-old marched onto the Oscars stage on Sunday and hit presenter Rock after the comedian told a joke about Pinkett Smith.
Rock’s wisecrack was targeted at Pinkett Smith’s buzzcut, a style she has embraced in wake of her alopecia diagnosis.
‘Jada, I love you. “G.I. Jane 2,” can’t wait to see it,’ Rock said to Pinkett Smith, whose close-shaven head looked similar to Demi Moore’s in the 1997 movie, during his presentation of the award for best documentary.
A source close to Packer (pictured backstage with Venus Williams) denied he encouraged Smith to remain in the audience
Packer was thought to have told Smith ‘We don’t want you to leave’, but he has since said the decision was down to Rock
Whether Rock was aware that Pinkett Smith suffered from a hair-loss condition is still unknown, but Smith reacted with the smack and an angry warning ‘to keep my wife’s name out your f***ing mouth!’
Shortly after, Smith was announced as the winner of the best actor award and went up to collect his statuette to a standing ovation from many of his peers.
In his acceptance speech, Smith apologized to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences – whose members vote for the awards, and who stages the ceremony – but stopped short of apologizing to Rock.
Smith initially laughed off the attack, writing on Instagram Sunday evening: ‘You can’t invite people from Philly or Baltimore nowhere!!’
Yet as the gravity of the situation became clear, Smith then posted a public apology to Instagram 24 hours after the ceremony, saying he was sorry to Rock. He said his behavior was ‘unacceptable and inexcusable’ and left him ’embarrassed’.
‘I would like to publicly apologize to you, Chris,’ he wrote. ‘I was out of line and I was wrong. 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.’
Pinkett Smith’s first public comment came in an Instagram post Tuesday in which she said: ‘This is a season for healing and I’m here for it.’