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Will Smith cries as he accepts the award for best performance by an actor in a leading role for "King Richard" at the Oscars on Sunday, March 27, 2022, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)
Will Smith, right, hits presenter Chris Rock on stage while presenting the award for best documentary feature at the Oscars on Sunday, March 27, 2022, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)
Will Smith cries as he accepts the award for best performance by an actor in a leading role for "King Richard" at the Oscars on Sunday, March 27, 2022, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences said that Will Smith was asked to leave the Oscars after hitting Chris Rock, but he refused.

The academy's board of governors met on Wednesday and decided to start proceedings against Smith for violating the group's standards of conduct. Smith could be disciplined by the academy, including suspension, expulsion or other sanctions.

Smith was seated in the front row at the Academy Awards after the incident. The academy suggested that it tried to remove the actor from the audience.

The academy said that things unfolded in a way they could not have anticipated.

A representative for the academy wouldn't say how it tried to remove Smith. After Smith hit Rock in response to a joke about his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, a number of stars spoke with the 53-year-old Smith.

Smith has the chance to defend himself in a written response before the board meets again on April 18. The film academy condemned Smith's onstage assault of Rock, but it used stronger language Wednesday.

The academy apologized to Mr. Rock for his actions at the Oscars. We apologize to our nominees, guests and viewers for what transpired during the event.

Smith apologized to Rock, the academy and to viewers on Monday, saying he was out of line.

A representative for Smith didn't respond to messages about the academy's latest moves.

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The Roots frontman Questlove, who can now go by Academy Award-winning Director Questlove, made it back to his stomping grounds at The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon Monday night, where he shared what was going through his mind during the now-controversial and viral moment, when Will Smith slapped Chris Rock at the Oscars Sunday night after the comedian cracked a joke about Smith's wife Jada Pinkett Smith. And as it turns out, what was going through his mind was nothing at all. The incident happened while Rock was on stage to present the award for Best Documentary, the category in which Questlove's film Summer of Soul was nominated. In order to deal with his anxiety and nerves after being notified that his category was up, Questlove said he went into a state of meditation during the commercial break. "So when I opened my eyes, I didn't realize, like, why is everyone so quiet? Like, I literally was not present for that whole entire moment," Questlove shared with Fallon. "And as I'm walking to the stage, I'm kind of putting two and two together and I realize that that was a real moment, like, maybe three seconds before I spoke words." Questlove went on to share that, in his mind, he thought Smith and Rock, who are two close friends of his, were just doing a sketch, so he chose to instead spend the moment remembering who he would need to thank if he won. "So I was not present at all. I was just in a blank space," admitted Questlove.

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