Oscar producer Will Packer says he did not realize that presenter Chris Rock was physically hit by Will Smith until he heard it directly from the comedian’s mouth.
“I thought it was a bit like everyone else,” Packer said Good morning America In his first public comment since being shocked Sunday night. Shortly before Smith won the Oscar for Best Actor, Smith’s wife Jada Pinkett slapped Rock for a joke about Smith’s shaved head. She spoke publicly about her struggle with alopecia, a condition that causes hair to fall out.
Packer told correspondent TJ Smith that he was watching from the off-stage when Rock was introduced to his mini-set before the Best Documentary Award. “He didn’t say a planned joke,” Packer said. “I thought it was something Chris and Will were doing on their own. I thought it over. We didn’t practice it. “
Once it became clear what was revealed, Packer said, “My heart was broken. I remember, ‘Oh no. Not like that.’ “I did not feel as devastated as I did at that moment.”
After arriving on the rock stage, Packer said he asked her, “Did he really hit you? And he looked at me and said, ‘Yes. I just took a punch from Mohammad Ali. You could say that he was in complete shock.
The academy not only let Smith stay in the theater, but let him go on stage and give a tearful acceptable speech. Packer insisted that the decision to take Smith out of the Dolby Theater was made by Rock. The comedian has strongly stated that Will Smith will not be arrested by police, according to Packer.
“They’re going to physically remove Will Smith,” he said. “I was not part of that conversation. …Rock has made it clear that he does not want to make matters worse.
GMA Divided the interview into two sections, the other will air in the next minute. This story will be updated with additional information.
Here is an initial clip from the interview:
Exclusive: # Oscar Producer Will Packer tells Good Morning America about the crazy consequences of actor Will Smith slapping live host Chris Rock on stage on Hollywood’s biggest night. https://t.co/AeoYcGkM32 pic.twitter.com/8z35t8TPFw
– Good Morning America (MAGMA) April 1, 2022