The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will determine "appropriate action" against Will Smith after he slapped Chris Rock at the Oscars, the group told its members in a letter obtained by NBC News.
In the letter, film academy President David Rubin and CEO Dawn Hudson said the leaders of the nonprofit organization were "upset and outraged" that the celebration of achievement in the film industry was "overshadowed by the unacceptable and harmful behavior on stage by a nominee."
"The Academy's Board of Governors will now make a determination on appropriate action for Mr. Smith," they said, adding that the process "will take a few weeks."
"We will continue to update you on any developments, but we also ask that you respect your Board, Academy staff and the process as this unfolds so it can work in the considered way it was intended and mandated," they added.
The academy confirmed Monday that it had started a "formal review" of the incident without providing any details about how the process would play out.
Smith, who won the best actor Oscar for the tennis drama "King Richard," publicly apologized to Rock, saying in a statement Monday that he was “out of line” and “embarrassed.”
“Violence in all of its forms is poisonous and destructive,” Smith said in a message posted Monday night on Instagram. “My behavior at last night’s Academy Awards was unacceptable and inexcusable.”
Smith slapped Rock after Rock made a joke about the appearance of Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. He then returned to his seat in the Dolby Theatre and shouted: “Keep my wife’s name out of your f-----g mouth!”
Rock kept his composure after he was slapped, joking that it was the “greatest night in the history of television.” He declined to press charges, the Los Angeles Police Department said. He has not publicly addressed the incident; he said in Boston on Wednesday night that he was still “processing” it.