The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is in some hot water as a report from gossip site TMZ is claiming that they lied about asking Will Smith to leave the Oscars following him slapping Chris Rock.
According to the site, the King Richard actor was told the exact opposite by a producer who said he could stay for the remainder of the show. This is according to sources with direct knowledge and who were present at the awards ceremony the outlet reports.
Amongst the officials, TMZ reports the decision on keeping Smith at the awards show was 50/50. Some wanted him gone and others did not. There were allegedly discussions behind closed doors during commercial breaks but no decision was made on the matter.
During one of the commercial breaks, sources claim, per TMZ, that Oscars producer Will Packer walked up to Will and said, “We do not want you to leave.”
It was previously reported, that the Academy said Smith refused to leave.
“Things unfolded in a way we could not have anticipated,” the Academy told the Associated Press Wednesday, per Page Six. “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.”
The actor has since apologized for his actions publicly while Rock briefly touched upon the incident at his show in Boston Wednesday night (March 30).