LOS ANGELES — Cops were on the verge of arresting Will Smith after he assaulted comedian Chris Rock at the Oscars, the show’s producer said Thursday.
In his first public comments since the shocking episode that overshadowed Hollywood’s most important night, Will Packer said he was sitting with Rock when officers came to talk to him.
“They said, you know, it’s a battery… They said we’re gonna catch him, we’re ready, we’re ready to catch him right now, you can charge him, we can stop it, you have – they have the options,” Packer told ABC Television.
“Chris was – he was very dismissive of those options. He said, ‘I’m fine.’
“The Los Angeles cops finished presenting his options and said, ‘You know, do you want us to do something? and he said “no”.
Los Angeles police on Sunday said Rock declined to press charges.
Smith shocked the entertainment world by taking the stage during the Oscars live stream and slapping Rock for a joke about the actor’s wife.
Half an hour later, Smith received the Academy Award for Best Actor – the film industry’s highest honor for a male actor – for his role in King Richard.
The announcement was met with cheers and applause from the crowd of industry insiders.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the body that awards the Oscars, said Wednesday that Smith was asked to leave the ceremony after the attack, but declined.
Conflicting reports about that detail surfaced on Thursday, including one suggesting Packer asked him to stay at the Dolby Theater.
In the short clip, which aired Thursday on ABC ahead of the full interview scheduled for Friday, Packer denied speaking to Smith.