- Will Smith walked on stage and struck Chris Rock during the Academy Awards on Sunday.
- A producer for the Oscars told ABC that police were ready to arrest Smith but Rock declined.
- Smith later apologized for the incident and the Academy said it is investigating.
Officers with the Los Angeles Police Department were prepared to arrest Will Smith on battery charges after the actor slapped Chris Rock on stage at the Academy Awards on Sunday, according to a producer of the awards ceremony.
“They were saying this is battery,” Will Packer, an Oscars producer, told ABC’s “Good Morning America,” according to a clip of the interview that was shared on Thursday.
Packer added that, while the police were laying out the options to Rock, they said: “we’re prepared to get him right now, you can press charges, we can arrest him.”
Rock told the police he was “fine” and that he did not want them to take any of those actions, according to Packer.
—philip lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) March 31, 2022
LAPD and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences did not immediately respond to Insider’s requests for comment.
Police arrived at the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles after Smith walked on stage and struck Rock after the comedian made a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith starring in “G.I. Jane 2,” a reference to the 1997 film starring Demi Moore with a shaved head. Pinkett Smith had a shaved head at the event and has previously discussed her struggles with alopecia, a condition that causes hair loss.
After striking Rock, Smith took his seat and twice shouted, “Keep my wife’s name out of your fucking mouth!” The show went on, and Smith took the stage shortly after to accept the award for best actor for his performance in “King Richard.”
Smith apologized to the Academy during his speech and later apologized to Rock, saying his actions were “unacceptable and inexcusable.”
Rock briefly addressed the incident for the first time during his stand-up show on Wednesday in Boston, saying he was “still processing” and would talk about it more at some point in the future.