It’s been nearly one week since Will Smith slapped Chris Rock onstage at the 94th Academy Awards and many are still sharing their perspectives on the incident.
In a recent interview with Good Morning America, Oscars producer Will Packer opened up about the jaw-dropping moment, sharing what occurred backstage after the altercation. Packer also revealed what he had hoped The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air star would have done to make the situation better.
Packer was willing to do anything Rock wanted after the slap
During the interview, Will Packer opened up about the conversations that took place after the altercation between Will Smith and Chris Rock.
According to the Oscars producer, he wanted to ensure that he did anything the comedian wanted, even if that meant removing the King Richard star from the ceremony.
“[The Los Angeles police] were laying out very clearly what Chris’ rights were, and they were saying, ‘This is battery. We will go get him,’” Packer explained. “Chris was being very dismissive of those options… He was like, ‘No, no, no,’ even to the point where I said, ‘Rock, let them finish,’ and they said, ‘Would you like us to take any action?’ And he said, ‘No.’”
Editor’s Note: Following the GMA interview, sources told Deadline that Rock was not asked if he wanted Smith to leave and that this conversation may be conflated with the one Rock has with police saying he didn’t want charges pressed.
Packer wishes Smith had apologized to Rock during his Oscars speech.
After recapping the conversation police had with Rock, Packer explained what he had hoped Smith would had done when he accepted his award for Best Actor.
Packer believed that Smith should have used his acceptance speech to apologize to Rock and attempt to rectify the situation.
“It couldn’t be made right in that moment,” Packer said, “but I think we were hoping that he could make it better, that he would stand on that stage and say what just happened minutes ago was absolutely and completely wrong. ‘Chris Rock, I am so sorry. Please forgive me.’ That’s what I was hoping for.”
Packers notes that if Smith didn’t give his speech, he would have liked for Smith to have voluntarily left the ceremony rather than stay and accept his Best Actor award.
“Because now you… have the optics of somebody who committed this act [and] didn’t nail it in terms of a conciliatory acceptance speech in that moment who then continued to be in that room,” the Oscars producer added.
Packer credits Rock for how he handled the situation.
Although Rock didn’t press charges against Smith or ask for the actor to be removed from the ceremony, Packer is still very proud of the comedian for how he handled himself in the wake of the slap.
“Because Chris handled the moment with such grace and aplomb, it allowed the show to continue,” Packer said, noting that the incident had already “sucked the life out of that room.”
He concluded the discussion by calling the situation a “sad and disappointing moment.”