Chris Rock stopped Will Smith's arrest at Oscars ceremony following slap, producer claims

Oscars show-runner Will Packer has said the police were "prepared" to arrest Will Smith.
Oscars show-runner Will Packer has said the police were "prepared" to arrest Will Smith. Credit: ABC/AP

Police in Los Angeles were ready to arrest Will Smith after he slapped Chris Rock at the Oscars, before the comedian reportedly stepped in.

Following the dramatic incident, Oscars show-runner Will Packer has said the police were "prepared" to arrest the King Richard star.

Speaking to ABC, Mr Packer said the comedian had been “very dismissive” of the options given to him by the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) when officers went to his office to speak with Mr Rock, who was told the incident was classed as “battery.”

It follows reports that Mr Smith met with leaders of the Academy on Tuesday to discuss his outburst, and apologised to Chief Executive Dawn Hudson and President David Rubin.

The 53-year-old won best actor for King Richard, but stormed on stage prior to his win after reacting to a joke made by Rock which referred to his wife Jada Pinkett Smith’s shaved head. She has previously spoken out about her experience dealing with alopecia.

Following the incident a review has been launched to discuss what disciplinary measures will be taken.

It is understood that Smith will have the opportunity to provide a written defence of his actions before the Academy board meet again on April 18.

The actor could receive a suspension or even face expulsion from the academy, just days after his first Oscar win.

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Los Angeles police have stated that no charges have been filed against the actor, but in a soon to be launched interview with Good Morning America, Mr Packer claimed they had told Mr Rock he had the power to do so.

“They were saying this is battery, that was the word they used at that moment, they said ‘we will go get him, we are prepared to go get him right now’,” Mr Packer said.

“‘You can press charges, we can arrest him’, they were laying out the options.”

He added: “As they were talking, Chris was being very dismissive of those options, he was like ‘no I’m fine’… and even to the point I said ‘Rock, let them finish’.

“The other LAPD officers finished laying out what his options were and they said ‘would you like us to take any action’ and he said ‘no’.”

With the interview due to air later on Friday on Good Morning America, Academy chiefs have stated that Mr Smith was asked to leave the ceremony but refused to do so.

In a statement they said: "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."

Adding that the actor’s actions were “a deeply shocking, traumatic event to witness in-person and on television”.

Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith at the Oscars. Credit: AP

Taking to the stage for the first time since the incident earlier this week, Rock told the audience he was “still kind of processing what happened" - though he never mentioned Smith nor his wife by name.

“Other than the weird thing, life is pretty good,” Rock said at one point midway through his first of two sets.

He was reportedly given a standing ovation by his audience before his set.

Smith has since issued a formal apology to Rock on Instagram, admitting he had reacted “emotionally” to the joke, but said “violence in all its forms is poisonous and destructive”.