Could Will Smith lose his Oscar after slapping Chris Rock at Academy Awards?

Actor Will Smith could lose his Oscar for Best Actor after assaulting Chris Rock on stage during Sunday night’s award show.

There isn’t really precedent for this sort of thing — full-blown assault at an awards show like the OSCARS is unheard of. Yet, on Sunday night, actor Will Smith got on stage and defended his wife after an ill-timed joke took the family the wrong way.

Smith slapped Rock across the face, making hard contact with his cheek. The academy, and seemingly Rock, reacted in shock. This wasn’t scripted. Smith went off, walked back to his seat, and shouted expletives at Rock’s direction.

This isn’t to say Rock should be defended. The comedian clearly hit a sore spot for the Smith family when he joked that Jada Pinkett Smith — Will Smith’s wife — could star in ‘G.I. Jane 2’ due to her hairstyle. Meanwhile, Pinkett Smith has a hair loss condition, alopecia.

Could Will Smith lose his Oscar?

In an article by the New York Post, one ‘highly-placed Hollywood Insider’ suggested Smith could be in trouble with the academy, though it’s unlikely he’d voluntarily relinquish his award.

It’s basically assault. Everyone was just so shocked in the room, it was so uncomfortable. “I think Will would not want to give his Oscar back, but who knows what will happen now,” the insider said.

The Academy immediately spoke out against Smith’s actions on social media, stating that they did not condone violence in any form.

The Academy does have a conduct code, which could be grounds for punishing Smith somehow. AMPAS CEO Dawn Hudson has suggested Academy members are held to the highest of standards:

“There is no place in the Academy for people who abuse their status, power or influence in a manner that violates recognized standards of decency. The Academy is categorically opposed to any form of abuse, harassment or discrimination on the basis of gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, disability, age, religion, or nationality. The Board of Governors believes that these standards are essential to the Academy’s mission and reflective of our values,” they wrote.

Is it likely Smith has his Oscar taken away? No. But expect an apology or acknowledgment of his actions in the coming days.