According to a new statement from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Will Smith was asked to leave the 94th Academy Awards following an onstage argument with Chris Rock over a joke directed at his wife Jada Pinkett Smith, but “refused.”

Things transpired in ways we could not have predicted,” a statement to PEOPLE says. “While we would like to clarify that Mr. Smith was requested to leave the event and refused, we equally understand that the matter may have been handled differently.” PEOPLE reached out to Smith’s representative for comment but did not receive a response right away.

Will Smith was asked to leave the Oscars ceremony after hitting Chris Rock but refused, the Academy says.
Will Smith refused to leave the Oscars after hitting Chris Rock.
Photo Source: The Independent

The Academy also provided information about the actions taken against the 53-year-old King Richard actor, who won the Oscar for Best Actor following the incident with Rock. According to the statement, “the Board of Governors today commenced disciplinary procedures against Mr. Smith for violations of the Academy’s Standards of Conduct, including inappropriate physical contact, abusive or threatening behavior, and compromising the Academy’s integrity.

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In accordance with the Academy’s Standards of Conduct and California law, Mr. Smith will be given at least 15 days’ notice of a vote on his infractions and punishments, as well as the opportunity to be heard in advance through a written response.” The Academy says they “may take any disciplinary action, which may include suspension, expulsion, or other sanctions permitted by the Bylaws and Standards of Conduct,” during their next board meeting on April 18.

Will Smith has done great role in King Richard.
Will Smith is with his King Richard cast.
Photo Source: Instagram

The Academy also apologized to Rock, everyone who attended Sunday’s event and those who watched from home in the statement. Since the surprising exchange between him and Rock, Smith has apologized to Rock, the Academy, and others.

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In a statement released Monday afternoon, the Academy said, “Mr. Smith’s conduct at last night’s show was condemned by the Academy. In compliance with our Bylaws, Standards of Conduct, and California law, we have begun a formal investigation into the occurrence and will consider further action and repercussions.

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