According to a source, the scenario is “unfortunate,” and Best Actor winner Will Smith “could have displayed greater discipline.”
Will Smith’s Oscars rage has the potential to overshadow his legacy.
“It’s very awful,” a Hollywood source and Academy member tells PEOPLE about Smith striking Chris Rock onstage after a joke about his wife Jada Pinkett Smith on Sunday.
“The first thing we teach our children is to use their words rather than their hands, and that was an outburst of uncontrollable rage. There was no justification for it, either “a member of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences adds “It’s tainted his reputation.”
“Keep my wife’s name out of your f——-g mouth!” Will yelled to the comic after returning to his seat after an astonished Rock was rendered speechless on Sunday night. Later at the event, Smith accepted the Best Actor award for King Richard, apologizing to the Academy (but not to Rock) and saying, “I hope the Academy invites me back.”
“He’s a man who commands a lot of respect. He has put in a lot of effort and has championed this project, which is an incredible story with an Oscar-worthy performance.
This, however, taints everything “adds the insider. “That is regrettable. He should have shown more restraint.”
“To see that exhibition of behavior on the global stage and in the moment,” the insider says, “that’s what he’ll be known for.”
Given Jada’s candor about shaving her head while struggling with alopecia, an autoimmune disorder that causes hair loss, the source acknowledges Rock’s remark about her having a haircut reminiscent to G.I. Jane was “hurtful.” “I just wish Will had taken a breath and shown self-control,” the insider says.
“You’ve got two incredible Black performers who have risen to the top of their respective areas, and to be degraded to this point isn’t good for any of them. Chris didn’t [go there], so it could have gotten uglier,” the source said, adding that Will’s “behavior crossed the line.”
After a statement on Sunday night stating that “”The Academy condemns Mr. Smith’s actions during last night’s show,” the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences said in a statement released Monday afternoon. In compliance with our Bylaws, Standards of Conduct, and California law, we have begun a formal investigation into the occurrence and will consider further action and repercussions.”