Having Will Smith 'Removed' from Oscars Was 'Definitely Discussed Seriously,' Says Industry Source

Will Smith struck Chris Rock onstage at the Oscars and shouted, "Keep my wife's name out of your f-----g mouth" during the live televised ceremony

Oscars organizers at one point considered having Will Smith removed from his seat during the 2022 ceremony after he walked onstage and struck presenter Chris Rock over a joke about his wife Jada Pinkett Smith.

An industry source tells PEOPLE, "Behind the scenes there were a lot of people, and different voices and bifurcated opinions, weighing in on what had just happened and what was the best and quickest course of action. People were also checking that Chris Rock was okay."

"Basically there were just minutes to first figure out if it was a stunt and then try and get people on the same page — including the producers, ABC, the Academy, reps who were not all in the same place or all looking at their phones in real time, and even to see if Chris wanted to press charges," the source explains.

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Rock did not opt to file charges, the LAPD later said.

The source adds that "having Will removed was definitely discussed seriously."

"You can't plan for something like this and make a split-second decision that needs everyone's buy-in, and in any iteration that would have consequences," the insider says.

will smith
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At the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles on Sunday, comedian Rock, 57, presented an award, taking time to crack a few jokes, including one about Jada's appearance. He made a gag about her hair matching Demi Moore's shaved head in the movie G.I. Jane, which she recently opened up about, revealing it was a result of her years-long struggle with alopecia. Jada, 50, was visibly unamused, rolling her eyes from her seat.

Seconds later, Will, 53, walked onstage and approached Rock, smacking him in front of the audience and millions watching the telecast at home. Back at his table, Will shouted to a stunned Rock: "Keep my wife's name out of your f-----g mouth." Will remained seated with Jada at his table for the rest of the night.

When Will won Best Actor later in the ceremony, he apologized to the Academy and his fellow nominees but did not mention Rock. In his tearful speech, he spoke about acting out of love and protection, saying, "Love makes you do crazy things."

Will Smith, Jada Pinkett Smith
Will and Jada Pinkett Smith. Richard Harbaugh/A.M.P.A.S. / SplashNews.com

Will and his family later celebrated his win, dancing together at after parties.

In a statement after the show, the Academy said, "The Academy does not condone violence of any form. Tonight we are delighted to celebrate our 94th Academy Awards winners, who deserve this moment of recognition from their peers and movie lovers around the world," it continued, shifting the focus to the newly minted Oscar winners.

Will Packer, who produced this year's Oscars with the first-ever all-Black producing team for the awards show, tweeted afterward, "Welp…I said it wouldn't be boring."

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