Whoopi Goldberg on Thursday defended the film Academy’s decision to give Will Smith the option of leaving Sunday’s Oscars after his slap of Chris Rock on stage.
Speaking about the controversy on “The View” on Thursday, Goldberg, who serves on the Academy’s board of governors, said she understands why Smith was asked to leave the show rather than being told to exit the ceremony.
“I’m going to tell you why he got the option. Picture, well, OK, they come back from break, now if he’s in some sort of state and he’s struggling and they’re trying to get him out the door and it’s still on camera,” Goldberg said. “Listen, we work a live show every day and stuff happens and it comes out your mouth or you do something stupid and you’ve got to sit there and deal with it.
“I can’t imagine what was going on. I wasn’t there. I can’t imagine what was going on back there, but I do know the only person anybody should be focusing on, in my opinion, is Will Smith,” Goldberg continued.
Goldberg went on to stress that, while she wasn’t present at the awards show, she’s heard from others who were there that many in the audience were “stunned” by what went down.
The co-host went on to praise Rock for keeping his composure in the aftermath.
“Let’s talk about that because that’s the best of the Academy,” Goldberg said.
Goldberg’s co-hosts also recognized her role on the board of governors, to which she replied that she isn’t at liberty to speak on behalf of the Academy.
“I can’t because I’m not their spokesperson and everything they had to say they’ve said. But there are things that I do know. People said to me, ‘Well, you know, they were running over to greet him’ and someone else is saying, ‘Well, you know, everybody was checking to make sure he wasn’t having a manic moment,’ because that’s not what he’s known for, smacking people. So we’ll see what happens and that’s where I keep saying let us keep in mind that there’s one person responsible for this,” she added.
Goldberg’s remarks come one day after The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences launched “disciplinary proceedings” against the “King Richard” star.
“The Board of Governors today initiated disciplinary proceedings against Mr. Smith for violations of the academy’s standards of conduct, including inappropriate physical contact, abusive or threatening behavior and compromising the integrity of the academy,” a statement obtained by Fox News Digital said.
“Mr. Smith was asked to leave the ceremony and refused, [but] we also recognize we could have handled the situation differently.”
Penalties from the Academy range from “suspension, expulsion or other sanctions permitted by the bylaws and standards of conduct.”Video
Many have focused on why Smith was allowed to remain seated in the front row at the Academy Awards after the incident. On Wednesday, the Academy said it attempted to remove the actor from the audience.
“Things unfolded in a way we could not have anticipated,” the Academy said. “While we would like to clarify that Mr. Smith was asked to leave the ceremony and refused, we also recognize we could have handled the situation differently.”
A representative for the Academy declined to give specifics on how it tried to removed Smith. After he struck Rock in response to a joke about wife Jada Pinkett Smith, several stars, including Denzel Washington, Bradley Cooper and Tyler Perry, spoke to the 53-year-old Smith.
The Academy said Smith has the opportunity to defend himself in a written response before the board meets again April 18. The film Academy earlier condemned Smith’s onstage assault of Rock, but it used stronger language Wednesday.
“Mr. Smith’s actions at the 94th Oscars were a deeply shocking, traumatic event to witness in-person and on television,” the academy said. “Mr. Rock, we apologize to you for what you experienced on our stage, and thank you for your resilience in that moment. We also apologize to our nominees, guests and viewers for what transpired during what should have been a celebratory event.”
Smith’s full statement: “My behavior at last night’s Academy Awards was unacceptable and inexcusable. Jokes at my expense are a part of the job, but a joke about Jada’s medical condition was too much for me to bear and I reacted emotionally.”ORDER A COPY OF ROB’S NEW BEST SELLING BOOK! Called “America’s Number ONE Gossip Columnist” by The National Enquirer. Rob ‘Naughty But Nice’ Shuter breaks celebrity news every day on his website NaughtyGossip.com where he delivers all the dish about the stars we love in his naughty but nice signature style. You can also catch him co-hosting and breaking celebrity news on Good Day New York, The Today Show, The Talk, Wendy Williams Show, CNN, Extra and Z100’s ‘Elvis Duran.’ Previously, Rob was the Huffington Post’s only celebrity columnist and the former executive editor of OK! Magazine. Rob has also hosted his own Saturday night talk show on Mark Cuban’s channel and his own daily morning show, ‘The Gossip Table,’ on VH1! Breaking some of the biggest entertainment stories, including Jamie Lynn Spears’s pregnancy news, Britney’s first post-meltdown interview, Eva Longoria’s wedding, and baby exclusives for Jessica Alba, Tori Spelling and Mathew McConaughey’s tots, Rob always knows where to find the best scoop. Before Rob was one of the world’s most successful entertainment reporters, he was a publicist working for Jennifer Lopez, Alicia Keys, P. Diddy, Jessica Simpson and Jon Bon Jovi! Now he is bringing all this experience to his new show on I HEART MEDIA in his unique cheeky way, that is always a pinch and never a punch!