41 oscars show 2022
CNN  — 

In the moments following Will Smith’s stunning on-stage slap of Chris Rock during Sunday’s Oscars telecast, members of the Academy of Motion Picture and Arts and Sciences leadership “firmly asked” Will Smith’s publicist for the actor to leave the ceremony, according to a source with knowledge of the situation.

Smith “was firmly asked by way of his publicist to leave the Oscars. He refused and that was communicated back to Academy leadership,” the person said.

The source spoke to CNN following multiple published reports Thursday disputing the Academy’s claim in a statement issued Wednesday evening that Smith “was asked to leave the ceremony and refused.”

Representatives for Smith did not respond to CNN’s requests for comment


The Oscar-winning actor has maintained a low profile on social media since issuing an apology on Monday.

“I was out of line and I was wrong,” Smith wrote in part. “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.”

The Academy has “initiated disciplinary proceedings” against Smith over his actions at the Oscars.

“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 organization said in a statement.

Another board meeting is set to take place on April 18, at which time, “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 said.

CNN’s Sandra Gonzalez contributed to this story.