Oscars producer says cops wanted to arrest Will Smith, but Chris Rock talked them out of it

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(Video Credit: ABC News Tonight)

Following the chaos that enveloped the Oscars after the slap that was heard around the world, a producer stated that police were ready to arrest actor Will Smith for battery but were stopped by comedian Chris Rock while sources claim the Academy allegedly lied about asking the “King Richard” star to leave.

The producer, Will Packer, told ABC News in an interview on Thursday that the police were ready and willing to arrest Smith, but Rock convinced them not to. He refused to press charges after the actor smacked him in front of millions of viewers after the comic made a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith’s hair. She suffers from an autoimmune condition called alopecia which causes hair loss.

Smith has apologized several times to the comedian, the Academy, and everyone in general. Rock has not divulged his side of the story but he did make a brief reference to it during his Ego Death World Tour at Boston’s Wilbur Theatre, saying “I haven’t talked to anyone despite what you may have heard,” Wednesday. He also remarked that he was “still processing what happened” and would have more to say at a later date.

Packer contends that the LAPD was set to take Smith into custody immediately following the assault.

“[Police] were saying, you know, this is battery, was a word they used in that moment. They said, ‘We will go get [Smith], we are prepared,’” Packer recounted. “‘We’re prepared to get him right now. You can press charges, we can arrest him.’”

Rock was reportedly presented with a number of options by the police over the incident according to the producer.

“Chris was — he was being very dismissive of those options,” Packer noted. “He was like, ‘I’m fine. No, no, no. I’m fine.’ And even to the point where I said, ‘Rock, let them finish.’”

“Would you like us to take any action?” the police asked Rock. His answer was a curt, “No.”

The Academy is also claiming they asked Smith to leave following the incident but he refused. Variety and TMZ are both saying that assertion is not true according to sources close to Will Smith.

(Video Credit: Inside Edition)

“Sources close to the situation are refuting that the actor was ever formally urged to leave the show. It appears that in the chaos that surrounded the altercation, the Academy and the show’s producer sent mixed messages about whether Smith should be expelled from the event,” Variety stated on Thursday.

“Mr. Smith was asked to leave the ceremony and refused, we also recognize we could have handled the situation differently,” the Academy claimed on Wednesday.

“We’re told Will was aware there was talk about asking him to leave the theater. During one of the commercial breaks, we’re told Oscars producer Will Packer walked up to Will and said, ‘We do not want you to leave’ … this according to our sources,” TMZ also reported.

“The Board of Governors today initiated disciplinary proceedings against Mr. Smith for violations of the Academy’s Standards of Conduct, including inappropriate physical contact, abusive or threatening behavior, and compromising the integrity of the Academy,” the Academy said in a statement, according to  Variety.

“Consistent with the Academy’s Standards of Conduct, as well as California law, Mr. Smith is being provided at least 15 days’ notice of a vote regarding his violations and sanctions, and the opportunity to be heard beforehand by means of a written response. At the next board meeting on April 18, the Academy may take any disciplinary action, which may include suspension, expulsion, or other sanctions permitted by the Bylaws and Standards of Conduct,” the statement concluded.


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