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Academy moves hearing to discuss Will Smith’s Oscars slap forward

Will Smith attending the Vanity Fair Oscar Party (Doug Peters/PA)
Will Smith attending the Vanity Fair Oscar Party (Doug Peters/PA)

The board of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has moved its meeting to address Will Smith’s actions at the Oscars forward to this Friday in a bid to deal with the incident “in a timely fashion”.

President David Rubin wrote to the board of governors on Wednesday morning saying the meeting, originally scheduled for April 18, would now take place 10 days earlier.

Last week, Smith resigned his membership of the Academy, which organises the Oscars, and said he will accept any consequences that emerge from the disciplinary hearing.

The Hollywood star, 53, won best actor for King Richard at the ceremony last month, minutes after storming the stage and slapping Chris Rock when the comedian made a joke about his wife Jada Pinkett Smith’s shaved head.

Mr Rubin’s letter to the board said the meeting would “address possible sanctions for Will Smith in response to his actions during the Oscars broadcast”.

It continued: “The April 18 date was set in accordance with California law and our Standards of Conduct because our agenda included possible suspension or expulsion of Mr Smith from membership.

“We were required to provide Mr Smith notice 15 days prior to the board meeting at which such action might be taken, and also give him the opportunity to provide the board a written statement no less than five days prior to that meeting.”

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Will Smith slaps Chris Rock at the Oscars (Chris Pizzello/AP)

He added that following Smith’s resignation “suspension or expulsion are no longer a possibility and the legally prescribed timetable no longer applies. It is in the best interest of all involved for this to be handled in a timely fashion”.

Smith, the star of The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air and Hollywood blockbusters such as I Am Legend, has apologised to Rock, his fellow nominees and the winners.

He admitted in a statement on Instagram that he had reacted “emotionally” to the joke, but said “violence in all its forms is poisonous and destructive”.

Prior to his resignation, Hollywood trade outlet Variety reported that Smith had met leaders of the Academy to discuss his outburst and apologised to Mr Rubin and chief executive Dawn Hudson.

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