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One week on: The slap that was heard around the world

One week on: The slap that was heard around the world (Chris Pizzello/AP)
One week on: The slap that was heard around the world (Chris Pizzello/AP)

It has been just over a week since the altercation at the 94th Academy Awards in which actor Will Smith stormed the stage and lashed out at comedian Chris Rock.

Here, the PA news agency takes a look back at the major developments in the story of the slap that was heard around the world.

– Sunday March 27

The 94th Academy Awards takes place, with comedian Chris Rock presenting the award for best documentary feature.

Before the announcement he makes a joke about actress Jada Pinkett Smith and her shaved head as a result of her medical condition, alopecia.

Her husband and best actor nominee Will Smith takes to the stage following the gag and slaps Rock across the face, before returning to his seat and shouting at the comedian to “get my wife’s name out of your f****** mouth”.

Smith later returns to the stage after winning the top gong and gives a tearful acceptance speech, in which he apologises to the Academy and his fellow nominees, but not Rock.

He is later pictured celebrating and dancing with his family at the Vanity Fair afterparty.

The 94th Academy Awards – Vanity Fair Party – Los Angeles
Smith is later pictured celebrating and dancing with his family at the Vanity Fair afterparty (Doug Peters/PA)

The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) says it is aware of the incident, but no report has been filed.

– Monday March 28

Smith’s actions are heavily criticised by everyone from his Hollywood contemporaries to the UK Government, with Downing Street saying that “striking someone is never the answer”.

The Academy, which previously said it “does not condone violence of any form,” announces it has launched a formal review into the incident.

A statement shared with media states: “We will explore further action and consequences in accordance with our bylaws, standards of conduct and California law.”

– Tuesday March 29

Smith issues a public apology to Rock and the Oscars production team in which he admits he reacted “emotionally” to the joke, but says that “violence in all its forms is poisonous and destructive”.

“I am embarrassed and my actions were not indicative of the man I want to be. There is no place for violence in a world of love and kindness,” his statement reads.

“I deeply regret that my behaviour has stained what has been an otherwise gorgeous journey for all of us…I am a work in progress.”

Pinkett Smith also calls for a “season of healing” on her own social media post.

– Wednesday March 30

Reports surface that Smith was asked by Oscars organisers to leave the event after the incident, but he refused to do so.

The Academy board of governors meet and afterwards say that disciplinary action for Smith was discussed.

A statement from the organisation says consequences could include suspension, expulsion or other sanctions, adding: “Things unfolded in a way we could not have anticipated.”

94th Academy Awards – Show
Rock addresses the incident publicly for the first time on Wednesday at a stand-up show in Boston, where he is reportedly given a standing ovation (Chris Pizzello/AP)

The Academy also apologise to Rock for his experience and thank him for his “resilience in that moment”.

The comedian also addresses the incident publicly for the first time at a stand-up show in Boston, where he is reportedly given a standing ovation.

According to audio shared by Variety he tells his audience he is “still kind of processing what happened” but promises that when he does address the issue it will be “serious and funny”.

– Thursday March 31

Hollywood trade outlet Variety reports Smith attended a meeting with the Academy’s chief executive Dawn Hudson and president David Rubin, to discuss the outburst on Tuesday.

Show-runner Will Packer reveals that the LAPD were “prepared” to arrest the actor following the altercation and told Rock that his ordeal was classed as “battery”.

In a clip of an interview with Good Morning America (GMA), Packer says Rock was “very dismissive” of the options given to him by officers when they spoke with him and refused to press charges against the actor.

– Friday April 1

The full interview with Packer airs on GMA where he reveals Rock had not wanted to “make a bad situation worse” and that he had initially thought the altercation was pre-planned between the pair.

Smith later announces his resignation from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences saying he “betrayed the trust” of the organisation with his “shocking, painful and inexcusable” behaviour.

In a statement, Smith apologises again to his fellow nominees and winners for having “deprived” them of the opportunity to celebrate their achievements on the night and says he will accept all consequences for his actions.

94th Academy Awards – Show
On Friday Smith announces his resignation from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences saying he ‘betrayed the trust’ of the organisation (Chris Pizzello/AP)

He adds: “Change takes time and I am committed to doing the work to ensure that I never again allow violence to overtake reason.”

A subsequent statement from Academy president David Rubin says Smith’s “immediate resignation” has been accepted and they will push ahead with  disciplinary proceedings him ahead of the board meeting on April 18.

– Saturday April 2

The incident becomes the subject of the opening monologue by Jerrod Carmichael on popular US comedy show Saturday Night Live (SNL), who says it feels like it happened “years ago”.

The actor/comedian repeatedly states he is “not gonna talk about it” and pleads with former president Barack Obama to address the issue.

“Can you believe it’s been six days? It was a week ago. Doesn’t it feel like it happened years ago?” he says.

– Sunday April 3

64th Annual Grammy Awards – Show
References to the Oscars altercation are still being made by presenters at the 64th Grammy Awards (Chris Pizzello/AP)

References to the altercation are made by presenters at the 64th Grammy Awards.

Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, the recipient of the best documentary Oscar, presents the award for best song, telling audiences to “stay at least 500 feet away from me”.

Ceremony host Trevor Noah adds the Grammys will be a “beautiful evening” adding: “We’re going dancing, we’re going to be singing, we’re going to be keeping people’s names out of our mouths.”

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