Billy Crystal thinks Will Smith's Oscar slap was "assault".
The 74-year-old actor has labelled the incident at the 94th Academy Awards, which saw actor Will smack comedian Chris Rock after he made a joke about Will’s wife Jada Pinkett Smith’s shaven head on the same night he picked up his Best Actor statuette for his role in ‘King Richard’, as "disturbing" and an "assault."
He said: "It was a most disturbing incident for sure. It was an assault. I've had experiences. I hosted the GRAMMYs three times and I've been thrown things.."
The 'City Slickers' star - who has hosted the annual Oscars ceremony a total of nine times over the course of his career - went on to explain that when he was at the helm of the Academy Awards, he always felt that there should be a procedure in place should such an incident arise.
Speaking on 'Back on the Record', he added: "In [Oscars] pre-production, the amazing Gill Cates, we would go through -- he was the producer for six of the nine that I did - we would go through the rundown and I'd say, 'Maybe I should be there because something might happen there. If that person wins, I should follow that."
Since the incident - which is due to be reviewed by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in a disciplinary meeting on Friday (08.04.22) -the 'Focus' star has issued an apology for his actions and officially resigned from the organisation.
He said in a statement: "I have directly responded to the academy's disciplinary hearing notice, and I will fully accept any and all consequences for my conduct. My actions at the 94th Academy Awards presentation were shocking,
painful, and inexcusable. The list of those I have hurt is long and includes Chris, his family, many of my dear friends and loved ones, all those in attendance, and global audiences at home. I betrayed the trust of the academy. I deprived other nominees and winners of their opportunity to celebrate and be celebrated for their extraordinary work. I am heartbroken.
"So, I am resigning from membership in the Academy of Motion Picture
Arts and Sciences, and will accept any further consequences the board