Apr 1, 2022 - Economy & Business

Oscars producer says he urged Academy not to remove Will Smith

Will Packer and Shayla Cowan

Co-producers Will Packer and Shayla Cowan at the 94th Annual Academy Awards on March 27. Photo: Mike Coppola/Getty Images

The lead producer of the Oscars said Friday on "Good Morning America" that he urged the Academy not to physically remove Will Smith from the Oscars after slapping Chris Rock on stage.

Why it matters: Will Packer's comments help shed light on why Smith stayed at the ceremony after the incident.

Details: Packer said he was initially told by his co-producer Shayla Cowan that they were about to physically remove Smith.

  • Packer explained that he felt Rock did not want Smith removed, saying that the comedian did "not want to make a bad situation worse," per Packer.
  • He added that he was not part of conversations where officials talked about asking Smith to voluntarily leave.
  • Packer said Smith apologized to him the next morning.

What he's saying: "I was advocating what Rock wanted in that time, which was not to physically remove Will Smith at that time because, as it has now been explained to me, that was the only option at that point," Packer said.

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