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Oscars Producer Says LAPD Was Ready To Arrest Will Smith After The Slap -- And Chris Rock Did Not Want Him Removed!

Will Packer GMA interview about Will Smith Slapping Chris Rock

We now have a clearer picture into what happen on Sunday, thanks to an in-depth talk with the producer of the Oscars.

Will Packer, the man in charge of the 94th annual Academy Awards, sat down with GMA‘s TJ Holmes for an interview on Friday, where he detailed many things — including the fact that LAPD were ready to arrest Will Smith for the assault of Chris Rock on site.

Related: Will Smith’s Brutal Assault Mugshot Resurfaces

If we’re being honest, the night was pretty boring until it erupted in confusion, chaos, and conversation! Let’s break down what exactly Packer revealed (below)!

Excitement For Chris Rock To Present

The TV producer was very happy they had Rock there to spit jokes. He initially mused:

“I said: ‘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, but you can’t make it up. He was just immediately freestyling. But I tell you, 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.”

Alright, so that brings clarity to one thing: the joke was NOT preplanned, at least according to Packer.

When Things Took A Turn

Packer confidently said he had no “concerns” going into it as Chris is a crowd pleaser, but then, the slap (as a result of a joke Chris made about Will’s wife Jada Pinkett Smith‘s bald head) was seen around the world.

“Once I saw Will yelling at the stage, with such vitriol. I remember thinking: ‘Oh no, no no, not like this. Not like this.’ But I’ve got people, everybody’s still in my ear, you know, saying: ‘OK, what are we doing on camera two? Is he still up there? Are we doing the best documentary category?’ And Chris was keeping his head when everybody was losing theirs.

But 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.”

He Thought It Was “A Bit”

Like many of us watching from home, the producer thought it was a bit. When Chris walked off stage, he was able to inquire directly about what had happened:

“I said: ‘Did he really hit you? And he looked at me and he goes: ‘Yeah, I just took a punch from Muhammad Ali.’ It’s exactly what he said, as only Chris can, you know. He was immediately in joke mode, but you could tell that he was very much still in shock.”

LAPD Were Ready To Arrest Will Smith

Police officers were immediately on scene and ready to follow through with whatever Chris Rock wanted. Packer explained the officers laid it all out for the comedian:

“I made that clear, like, ‘Rock, you tell me, whatever you want to do, brother… 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.'”

Ultimately Chris said that he was fine, and he didn’t want to press charges.

Was Will Smith Actually Asked To Leave?

Packer says his co-producer Shayla Cowan informed him that the Academy was about to remove Smith from the ceremony — and that he himself had not been a part of those conversations.

While Packer claims he did not speak to Smith directly, he went right to leadership to address Chris Rock’s wishes on the matter:

“It happened right before the best actor award. I immediately went to the Academy leadership that was on site and I said: ‘Chris Rock doesn;t want that,’ I said: ‘Rock has made it clear that he does not want to make a bad situation, worse.'”

Packer doubled down and said he was willing to advocate for whatever Chris wanted in that moment, which was to let everything be. As we know, the Academy said in a statement Wednesday that they had asked Smith to leave, but he refused. That was challenged by other sources who said the actor was never formally asked to go!

So unfortunately, no clarity on that from this interview. Hmmm.

Will’s Apology

Packer shared that Will reached out on Monday to say he was sorry, the same day he released his public statement:

“He apologized and he said: ‘You know, this should have been a gigantic moment for you,'” Packer recalled. “He expressed his embarrassment and that was the extent of it.”

Smith reportedly also apologized to the Academy on a six-minute Zoom call on Tuesday. The Academy said it is holding its next board meeting on April 18, and members will discuss disciplinary action against Smith, such suspension, expulsion, or sanctions.

Chris Saved The Day

Packer went on to praise Rock for how he handled himself during the entire ordeal, and how because of him they were able to carry on with the show:

“Chris handled the moment with such grace and aplomb — it allowed the show to continue. Because Chris continued the way that he did, he completed the category. He handed the trophy to Questlove, who I feel like was really robbed of their moment. It gave us license in a way to continue the show, which is what we were trying to do… It was such a huge moment, and such a sad and disappointing moment that it wasn’t something that we were going to come back from within that night, within this week. I don’t know when we’ll come back and people will be talking about anything else other than the show.”

Watch the interview (below):

Thoughts, Perezcious readers?! So much still remains unclear.

[Image via Good Morning America]

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Apr 01, 2022 06:20am PDT

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