Oscars producer Will Packer told “Good Morning America” that Los Angeles police were prepared to arrest Will Smith after he slapped Chris Rock during Sunday’s awards ceremony.
The officers didn’t make the arrest because Rock declined to press charges, Packer told the ABC program in a recent interview, which is set to air Friday morning.
“They were saying, you know, this is battery, was the word they use in that moment,” he told the program. “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.’”
A Los Angeles Police Department spokesman said this week that there was no deadline to file a complaint and that the department would “complete a report at any time in the future.”
“For misdemeanor crimes, the victim cooperation is important in successful prosecution,” the spokesman added.
A police spokesperson told the Los Angeles Times on Thursday that the department had no further comment on the matter.
The incident and its fallout, meanwhile, continued to ripple throughout the entertainment industry.
Actor and comedian Rock was presenting the documentary Oscar when he made a joke about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, apparently alluding to her shaved head. Pinkett Smith disclosed in 2018 she had developed the hair-loss condition alopecia.
Smith rushed the stage, slapped Rock and shouted at him.
Later in the night, Smith won the best actor award for the film “King Richard,” playing Richard Williams, the father of tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams.
During his acceptance speech, Smith said Williams did anything to protect his family, which appeared to be an attempt at explaining his slap. He went on to apologize to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and his fellow nominees — but not initially to Rock.
In a statement issued Monday, Smith called his conduct “unacceptable and inexcusable,” apologized to Rock and said: “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.”
The academy announced Wednesday that it had started disciplinary proceedings against Smith “for violations of the Academy’s Standards of Conduct, including inappropriate physical contact, abusive or threatening behavior and compromising the integrity of the Academy.”
Facing criticism over its handling of the incident, which upended the Oscars and stunned millions of viewers, the organization said Smith had refused a request to leave.
In its statement Wednesday, the organization went further in criticizing the actor’s conduct — and also extended an apology to Rock, who had not spoken publicly about the incident until he took the stage to perform a comedy show in Boston on Wednesday night, where he reportedly received a prolonged standing ovation.
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