Academy says Will Smith refused to leave Oscars ceremony after slap

Will Smith was asked to leave Sunday night’s Oscars ceremony after slapping Chris Rock but refused to do so, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences said Wednesday while announcing that it had begun disciplinary proceedings against the actor.

Possible punishment could result in “suspension, expulsion or other sanctions,” it said.

The academy, which said in a statement that the allegations violate the organization’s code of conduct, also accused the actor of compromising its integrity.

“Smith’s actions at the 94th Oscars were a deeply shocking, traumatic event to witness in-person and on television,” the academy said.

“Things unfolded in a way we could not have anticipated. While we would like to clarify that Mr. Smith was asked to leave the ceremony and refused, we also recognize we could have handled the situation differently,” it said.

Smith has 15 days to respond to the allegations, according to the statement. The academy’s board of governors, which initiated the proceedings, will vote on possible disciplinary measures April 18.

Smith, who won best actor for “King Richard,” publicly apologized to Rock on Monday, saying in a statement that he was “out of line” and “embarrassed.”

“Violence in all of its forms is poisonous and destructive,” Smith  posted Monday night on Instagram. “My behavior at last night’s Academy Awards was unacceptable and inexcusable.”

Smith slapped Rock after the comedian made a joke about the appearance of Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, saying: “Jada, I love you; ‘G.I. Jane 2,’ can’t wait to see it.”

Pinkett Smith has publicly said she has alopecia, which causes hair loss.

Smith then returned to his seat in the Dolby Theatre and shouted: “Keep my wife’s name out of your f—ing mouth!”

Rock kept his composure after he was slapped, joking that it was the “greatest night in the history of television.” He declined to press charges, the Los Angeles Police Department said. He has not publicly addressed the incident, but he is slated to perform in Boston on Wednesday night.