While repercussions for Best Actor recipient Will Smith continue to ring in amid the Oscars controversy, there’s new information detailing how some, like lead producer of the 94th Academy Awards Will Packer, made sure Smith did not end up in handcuffs.
Today (April 1) Packer’s appearance on “Good Morning America” aired where he gave his take on the events that caused the highly regarded event to tailspin into a scandal. Packer revealed that after the incident took place, he was alerted that there were discussions to have Smith “physically” removed.
“The LAPD came and needed to talk to Chris. And so they came into my office and they were laying out very clearly what Chris’ rights were. They were saying: ‘This is battery. We will go get him. We will go get him right now, you can press charges, we can arrest him,'” however, Packer noted that Chris Rock did not want to “make a bad situation worse.”
Rock found himself on the receiving end of a slap that will now go down in history after a joke he told at the Oscars on Sunday (March 27) went left.
As Packer recounted his version of events, with a smile, he insisted that he was never worried about Rock’s performance, “‘Watch this, he’s gonna kill.’ Because I knew he had an amazing lineup of jokes that we had — we had him in the prompter. He didn’t tell one of the planned jokes.”
Although Rock “was just immediately freestyling,” Packer found comfort in knowing that Rock was a pro who knew what he was doing, saying, “If there’s anybody that you don’t worry about going out in front of a live audience and riffing off the cuff, [it’s] Chris Rock. Nobody’s better.”
Packer goes on to describe his feelings as he watched the event he had worked so hard on taking a dive, “My heart at that point was just in my stomach because of everything about it and what it represented and what it looked like and who was involved. All of that was just — I never felt so immediately devastated like I did in that moment.”
That night, Packer was leading the first all-Black production team in Oscars history.
Packer was sure to note that Smith felt remorse for his actions and told him,”You know, this should have been a gigantic moment for you.” There are also reports of Smith video conferencing the team of producers earlier this week to extend his deepest apologies.
While speaking with “GMA”, Packer said he didn’t know the slap was real but checked in with Rock after he left the stage and although Rock was still in joke mode, “you could tell that he was very much still in shock.”
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