The Academy is reportedly ‘exploring consequences’ for Will Smith’s outburst at Sunday night’s Oscars ceremony.
“It’s so unfortunate,” one Hollywood insider who is also a member of the Academy tells PEOPLE of the Sunday incident, when Smith struck Chris Rock onstage over a joke about his wife Jada Pinkett Smith.
“The first thing we teach our children is use your words and not your hands, and that was a brutal display of unbridled anger. And there was no excuse for it,” the Academy member adds. “It has tarnished him.”
The moment shocked audiences on Sunday night as Will, after returning to his seat as a stunned Rock was left speechless, shouted to the comedian, “Keep my wife’s name out of your f—–g mouth!” Smith went on to win Best Actor for King Richard later in the ceremony, apologizing to the Academy (but not to Rock) and joking, “I hope the Academy invites me back.”
“He’s regarded with enormous respect. He has worked hard and he championed this project which is an extraordinary story and his portrayal is Oscar-worthy. But this taints everything,” the insider adds. “And that’s unfortunate. He should have shown greater restraint.”
“To see that display of behavior on the global stage and in the moment, that’s what he will be remembered for,” the insider says.
The source admits Rock’s joke about her having a hairdo reminiscent of G.I. Jane was “hurtful,” given Jada’s openness about shaving her head while dealing with alopecia, a hair-loss autoimmune disease. However, the insider says, “I just wish Will had taken a breath and showed self-restraint.”
“You have two extraordinary Black performers who have each risen to the top of their respected fields, and to be reduced to this moment doesn’t bode well for either of them. It could have become uglier but Chris didn’t [go there],” said the source, adding that Will’s “behavior crossed the line.”
After a Sunday night statement saying it “does not condone violence of any form,” the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences said Monday afternoon: “The Academy condemns the actions of Mr. Smith at last night’s show. We have officially started a formal review around the incident and will explore further action and consequences in accordance with our Bylaws, Standards of Conduct and California law.”
All we know is that if they try and take Will’s Oscar, Black folks will riot.