LAPD offered to arrest Will Smith for slap incident, Oscars producer says

Chris Rock insisted he did not want actor arrested

The Los Angeles Police Department offered to arrest Will Smith after the actor slapped comedian Chris Rock during the 2022 Oscars, the show's producer said. Reuters
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The Los Angeles Police Department was prepared to arrest actor Will Smith after he slapped Chris Rock during the Oscars ceremony on Sunday, but the comedian insisted he did not want the actor arrested, the show's producer said.

“They were saying, you know, this is battery, was a word they used in that moment,” Oscars producer Will Packer said in a clip released by ABC News Thursday night of an interview he gave to Good Morning America.

“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.

“He was like, ‘No, no, no, I’m fine,” Mr Packer said. “And even to the point where I said, ‘Rock, let them finish.’ The LAPD officers finished laying out what his options were and they said, ‘Would you like us to take any action?’ And he said no.”

In a statement after Sunday's ceremony, the LAPD said Rock declined to file a report.

Mr Parker said he at first thought the slap was an act by Smith and Rock. Mr Packer said he went up to Rock after the incident.

“I said, ‘Did he really hit you?’” the producer asked Rock.

“And he looked at me and he goes, ‘Yeah, I just took a punch from Muhammad Ali,’ as only Chris can. He was immediately in joke mode, but you could tell that he was very much still in shock.”

The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences met on Wednesday to open disciplinary proceedings against Smith.

In a statement, the Academy said that it had asked Smith to leave the ceremony, but he had refused to do so. The board of governors are scheduled to meet again on April 18.

During Sunday's ceremony, Smith walked from his front-row to seat to slap Rock in the face after the comic made a joke about Smith's wife, Jada Pinkett Smith.

Will Smith then returned to his seat, where he shouted expletives at Rock.

Smith released an apology to Rock, the Academy and to viewers saying, "There is no place for violence in a world of love and kindness".

The Associated Press contributed to this report

Updated: April 01, 2022, 2:35 PM