Oscars Producer Will Packer Says Will Smith's Smack Was 'a Very Painful Moment for Me — on Many Levels'

Will Smith struck Chris Rock during the 94th Academy Awards after the comedian made a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith's shaved head

Will Packer
Photo: Amy Sussman/Getty

The producer of the 94th Academy Awards is opening up about Will Smith smacking Chris Rock, saying that it was "a very painful moment" to witness.

Will Packer, 47, who served as producer for the Oscars, received criticism for the initial tweet he posted shortly after Smith hit Rock following the comedian's joke about Jada Pinkett Smith's shaved head during the ceremony Sunday night.

"Welp... I said it wouldn't be boring #Oscars," Packer wrote Sunday night.

A social media user called out Packer for the tweet and told him, "Making jokes about an assault that happened during your show isn't the congratulatory message you think it is"

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In response, Packer shared his "transparent" thoughts on the incident.

"Black people have a defiant spirit of laughter when it comes to dealing with pain because there has been so much of it," he wrote. "I don't feel the need to elucidate that for you."

Packer added, "But I also don't mind being transparent and say that this was a very painful moment for me. On many levels."

During the Oscars ceremony, presenter Rock, 57, made the joke about Pinkett Smith's shaved head, which she recently opened up about, revealing it was a result of her years-long struggle with alopecia.

Following the remark, Pinkett Smith, 50, rolled her eyes. Smith then took to the stage and hit Rock. After returning to his seat, Smith, 53, shouted to Rock, "Keep my wife's name out your f---ing mouth!"

In his Best Actor acceptance speech, Smith later said in part, through tears, "In this time in my life, in this moment, I am overwhelmed by what God is calling on me to do and be in this world. ... I'm being called on in my life to love people and to protect people and to be a river to my people."

"I know to do what we do you gotta be able to take abuse; you gotta be able to have people talk crazy about you," the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air alum continued. "In this business you gotta be able to have people disrespecting you, and you gotta smile and pretend like that's okay."

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Smith then addressed the incident directly, offering an apology to the Academy and his fellow actors for the incident — but failed to mention Rock.

In a statement shared Monday afternoon, the Academy "condemn[ed]" Smith's "actions".

"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."

In addition, the Academy shared the organization's Standards of Conduct that "provide an ethical framework for Academy members." "Members should act in a manner consistent with the good reputation of the Academy," the Academy stated.

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As listed in the document, unacceptable conduct includes "physical contact that is uninvited and, in the situation, inappropriate and unwelcome."

The Standards of Conduct also say that if a member is found to have violated the standards, "the Academy may take any disciplinary action permitted by the Academy's Bylaws, up to and including suspension of membership or expulsion from membership."

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