Academy Reveals It Asked Will Smith to Leave 2022 Oscars After Outburst and He 'Refused'

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” against Smith

Will Smith
Photo: Kevin Mazur/WireImage

Will Smith was asked to leave the 94th Academy Awards after his onstage altercation with Chris Rock over a joke directed at wife Jada Pinkett Smith, but "refused," according to a new statement from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

"Things unfolded in a way we could not have anticipated," reads a statement issued to PEOPLE. "While we would like to clarify that Mr. Smith was asked to leave the ceremony and refused, we also recognize we could have handled the situation differently."

PEOPLE has reached out to Smith's rep for comment, but did not immediately hear back.

will smith
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Additionally, the Academy offered insight into the course of action taken against the 53-year-old King Richard actor, who took home the Oscar for Best Actor after the incident with Rock occurred.

For more on the Will Smith-Chris Rock incident at the Oscars, listen below to our daily podcast on PEOPLE Every Day.

"The 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," reads the statement.

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"Consistent with the Academy's Standards of Conduct, as well as California law, Mr. Smith is being provided at least 15 days' notice of a vote regarding his violations and sanctions, and the opportunity to be heard beforehand by means of a written response."

At the next board meeting, set to take place on April 18, 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."

In the statement, the Academy also issued an apology to Rock, 57, as well as everyone in attendance at Sunday's event and those watching from home.

"Mr. Smith's actions at the 94th Oscars were a deeply shocking, traumatic event to witness in-person and on television. Mr. Rock, we apologize to you for what you experienced on our stage and thank you for your resilience in that moment," the statement says. "We also apologize to our nominees, guests and viewers for what transpired during what should have been a celebratory event."

RELATED VIDEO: How Will Smith Smacking Chris Rock at the Oscars — and the Aftermath — Unfolded

Smith has since apologized to Rock, the Academy, and more since the shocking exchange between him and Rock, writing in part in a lengthy Instagram post on Monday, "I would like to publicly apologize to you, Chris. I was out of line and I was wrong. 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."

On Monday afternoon, the Academy said in a statement, "The Academy condemns the actions of Mr. Smith at last night's show. We have officially started a formal review around the incident and will explore further action and consequences in accordance with our Bylaws, Standards of Conduct and California law."

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