Many have questioned why actor Will Smith wasn’t immediately handcuffed after assaulting Chris Rock on live television at the Academy Awards.
According to Oscars producer Will Packer, the cops were prepared to arrest Smith that night, but Rock didn’t want to press charges, Breitbart reported.
Oscars producer says cops wanted to arrest Smith
Smith was reportedly on edge after being publicly jeered over his wife’s affairs with other men when he went on stage and attacked Rock for joking about Jada Pinkett Smith’s appearance.
Packer told “ABC World News Tonight” that the police were “prepared” to book Smith for battery following his now-infamous slap, but Rock was “dismissive” of pressing charges.
“The LAPD officers finished laying out what his options were, and they said, ‘Would you like us to take any action?’ He said, ‘No.’”
But there’s more to the story. Many have criticized the Academy Awards for allowing the show to go on as normal after the shocking incident, and there have been mixed reports as to whether the Academy made an effort to get Smith to leave, according to Page Six.
In a statement Wednesday, the Academy said Smith “refused” to leave, but a report from TMZ citing Academy insiders said that Packer gave Smith the green light to stay.
Of course, Packer isn’t exactly an unbiased source. A source close to Rock denied Packer’s claim that Rock did not want Smith to be escorted out of the theater, with the source telling TMZ that the Academy is “covering itself.”
“Chris told Packer ‘I’m not pressing charges. All I want to do is leave.’ He was never asked if he wanted Will removed. This is the Academy covering itself.”
With one slap, Smith revived interest in an awards show that had alienated many Americans in recent years with its overt political bias. Many suspect that is why the Academy seems to be going easy on Smith.
While they say they are looking into disciplinary measures, it’s doubtful they will take back his award for Best Actor.
In the meantime, experts say that Rock’s cooperation isn’t necessary to prosecute — although it doesn’t take a legal genius to see that Smith is getting some privileged treatment.