Los Angeles police were on-site and ready for arresting actor Will Smith at the Academy Awards on Sunday for slapping presenter Chris Rock, the producer of the Hollywood ceremony said on Thursday.
Producer Will Packer said Rock declined to press charges, echoing a statement from a police spokesperson on Sunday. Hence, the authorities did not take action.
“They were saying, you know, this is a battery, was a word they used at that moment,” Packer said in excerpts from an interview that will air Friday on ABC’s “Good Morning America.” “They said, we will go get him. We are prepared to get him right now,” Packer added.
During the live Oscars telecast, Smith strode up to the stage after Rock made a joke about the appearance of Smith’s wife, then smacked the comedian’s face. As Smith accepted the Best Actor trophy for his role in “King Richard” less than an hour later, he made a tearful speech on stage.
Behind the scenes, police were discussing options with Rock, Packer said. Rock “was being very dismissive of those options. He was like, ‘No, no, no, I’m fine.’ And even to the point where I said, ‘Rock, let them finish,’” Packer added.
Smith apologized to Rock, producers, and viewers in a statement on Monday, saying he had “reacted emotionally”. Rock’s joke about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, made a reference to the 1997 film “G I Jane” in which actress Demi Moore shaved her head. It was unclear whether Rock was aware that Jada Pinkett Smith has a condition that causes hair loss.
A police spokesman said Sunday night that the individual involved in the incident had declined to press charges, but did not provide details about the interactions at the awards show.
Chris Rock ‘still processing’ the slap
Comedian Rock, in his first public comments since he was slapped in the face by actor Smith at the Oscars on Sunday, said he is “still processing” the incident that made headlines around the world.
“How was YOUR weekend?” Rock asked on Wednesday night of a sold-out crowd at Boston’s Wilbur Theatre. He made it clear from the onset he did not plan to address the Oscars incident at length.
“I am still processing what happened, so at some point, I will talk about that shit,” Rock told the crowd. “It will be serious. It will be funny, but right now I’m going to tell some jokes.” Rock, 57, received a standing ovation from the Boston crowd.
“Let me be all misty and shit,” he said, with tears in his eyes. “I don’t have a bunch of shit to say about that, so if you came here for that…’ he said, and paused. “I had written a whole show before this weekend.”
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