Mega star Will Smith could face expulsion from the Academy after attacking comedian Chris Rock.
Will Smith refused to leave the Oscars ceremony after attacking comedian Chris Rock, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has revealed, as it began disciplinary action against the mega star.
"While we would like to clarify that Mr Smith was asked to leave the ceremony and refused, we also recognise we could have handled the situation differently," a statement said on Wednesday.
Smith could face expulsion from the Academy for the open-handed slap, which came moments before he was handed the best actor award for his role in "King Richard" - an announcement greeted with cheers by the audience.
The Academy, the body that hands out the Oscars, said it would hold a vote on what action should be taken against Smith over the globally televised assault, which marred Hollywood's most important evening.
READ MORE: Will Smith slaps Chris Rock to shock audience, wins Oscar later
"The Board of Governors today initiated disciplinary proceedings against Mr Will Smith for violations of the Academy's Standards of Conduct, including inappropriate physical contact, abusive or threatening behaviour, and compromising the integrity of the Academy," the statement said.
"Mr Smith is being provided at least 15 days' notice of a vote regarding his violations and sanctions, and the opportunity to be heard beforehand by means of a written response."
"At the next board meeting on April 18, the Academy may take any disciplinary action, which may include suspension, expulsion, or other sanctions permitted by the Bylaws and Standards of Conduct."
The Academy offered also apologised to Rock over the "deeply shocking, traumatic event."
"Mr. Rock, we apologise to you for what you experienced on our stage and thank you for your resilience in that moment," the Academy said.
The group is under intense pressure to respond appropriately to the slap, which has dominated coverage of the glitzy awards and taken the spotlight from several notable firsts - including for the mainly deaf cast of "CODA," who won best picture.
Expulsion from the exclusive club is rare, but not unheard of: Harvey Weinstein was kicked out in 2017 after reports emerged of decades of sexual assault.
Director Roman Polanski was expelled in 2019 after years of controversy about his 1978 conviction for the rape of a 13-year-old girl.
Neither man was stripped of their Oscars.
READ MORE: 'Out of line' Will Smith apologises to Chris Rock for Oscars slap