Updated April 1, 9:15 a.m.: Oscars producer Will Packer appeared on Good Morning America on the morning of April 1 to share what was going through his head at the moment of The Slap™®. Packer says that Chris Rock “did not get to one joke” that was pre-written for him in the teleprompter. “He did not tell one of the planned jokes. He was immediately freestyling.” Packer says that when Will Smith first stepped onstage he “thought this was part of something that Chris and Will were doing on their own.” “I thought it was a bit like everybody else […] I wasn’t concerned at all,” he continued. “I figured, okay, he’s going to say something or come at him. Something funny’s gonna happen because that’s the nature of Chris and that’s the nature of Will.” But when Smith started yelling at the stage with real anger, his “heart dropped. I just remember thinking, Oh no, oh no, not like this.” Us too!
Original story follows.
Oscars producer Will Packer says Chris Rock could have had Will Smith arrested for slapping him on stage at the 94th Academy Awards. Packer appeared on Good Morning America on April 1 to discuss The Slap. In a preview of the interview aired by ABC News, Packer told T.J. Holmes that he met with Rock and officers from the Los Angeles Police Department in his office after the incident, which police described as battery. “They said, ‘We will go get [Smith]. We are prepared, we’re prepared to get him right now. You can press charges, we can arrest him,’” he recalled. According to Packer, Rock was “very dismissive” of the options laid out by police and did not want to take any action.
There have been conflicting reports as to whether Smith was asked to leave the ceremony: While the Academy claimed that Smith refused to leave, sources told Variety and The Hollywood Reporter that he was actually never formally asked to do so. While Variety reported that Packer personally asked Smith to stay, Packer told Holmes that he never directly spoke with Smith on the night of the Oscars. Did they speak indirectly? Did they speak after the Oscars? The producer previously addressed the controversy on social media, tweeting after the ceremony, “Welp…I said it wouldn’t be boring.” He later replied to an accusation that he was making light of the situation by writing in part, “I also don’t mind being transparent and say [sic] that this was a very painful moment for me. On many levels.”