Oscars producer Will Packer has claimed the Los Angeles Police Department was “prepared” to arrest Will Smith after he slapped Chris Rock during the Academy Awards
Will Packer, who produced Sunday’s ceremony, told Good Morning America in an interview that LAPD officers were willing to arrest Smith for battery after he slapped Rock in response to a joke made about his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith.
However, Rock wasn’t interested in taking further action and was “dismissive” about his options during a conversation backstage.
“They were saying, ‘This is battery.’ That was the word they used in that moment,” Packer recalled. “They said, ‘We will go get him. We are prepared. We will go 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, he was being very dismissive of those options. He was like, ‘No, I’m fine.’ He was like, ‘No, no, no.’ And even to the point where I said, ‘Rock, let them finish.’ The LAPD officers finish laying out what his options were. And they said, ‘Would you like us to take any action?’ And he said, ‘No’.”
Representatives for the LAPD released a statement on Sunday night stating that they were “aware” of the incident, but that “the individual involved has declined to file a police report.”
The Academy claimed on Wednesday that Smith was asked to leave the ceremony and he refused. However, sources close to the situation have alleged he was never directly asked to leave the Dolby Theatre.
The Academy’s Board of Governors has initiated disciplinary proceedings against Smith “for violations of the Academy’s Standards of Conduct, including inappropriate physical contact, abusive or threatening behaviour, and compromising the integrity of the Academy.”
The disciplinary action will be decided on April 18th.