LAPD was prepared to arrest Will Smith at the Oscars, but Chris Rock declined, show producer says

LAPD was prepared to arrest Will Smith at the Oscars, but Chris Rock declined, show producer says

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The Los Angeles Police Department was prepared to arrest Will Smith at the Oscars after he slapped Chris Rock, Will Packer, a producer for the awards show, told ABC News’ “Good Morning America.” Rock was “dismissive” of the idea and decided not to press charges, Packer said. 

Packer said LAPD officers spoke to Rock in the producer’s office after Smith slapped him over a joke that the comedian, who was presenting an award, made about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith.

“They were saying, you know, ‘This is battery,’ was the word they use in that moment,” Packer said in a clip of a “Good Morning America” interview released Thursday night. “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.'”

TOPSHOT-US-ENTERTAINMENT-FILM-OSCARS-SHOW
Actor Will Smith slaps comedian Chris Rock onstage during the 94th Academy Awards at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, March 27, 2022.

ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images


Earlier this week, the LAPD confirmed Rock declined to press charges against Smith.

Packer, who led the show’s first all-Black production team, said he did not speak with Smith directly that night. 

In the days since Sunday’s show, more information has come to light. On Wednesday, the Academy criticized Smith’s actions and said it is reviewing the incident. It also said that Smith — who went on to win Best Actor for his role in “King Richard” — was asked to leave, but declined. 

“Mr. Smith’s actions at the 94th Oscars were a deeply shocking, traumatic event to witness in-person and on television,” the Academy stated. “Mr. Rock, we apologize to you for what you experienced on our stage and thank you for your resilience in that moment. We also apologize to our nominees, guests and viewers for what transpired during what should have been a celebratory event.”

Both Rock and Smith have spoken about the incident. Smith apologized to the comedian on Tuesday, while Rock briefly addressed the incident in his first stand-up show since the slap on Wednesday night in Boston. 

“I’m still kind of processing what happened,” according to audio posted by Variety. He also tamped down any audience expectations that he would talk at length about the slap, telling them: “If you came to hear that, I’m not … I had like a whole show I wrote before this weekend,” the Associated Press reported.

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