The Tony Awards discloses a 'no violence policy' in the wake of Will Smith slapping Chris Rock at the Oscars

·Senior Writer, Yahoo Entertainment
·3 min read
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 26: Bernadette Peters (R) attends the 74th Annual Tony Awards at Winter Garden Theater on September 26, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Arturo Holmes/Getty Images)
Bernadette Peters arrives at the 74th Annual Tony Awards in New York City. (Photo: Arturo Holmes/Getty Images)

As Will Smith's charged confrontation with Chris Rock at this year's Oscar ceremony continues to reverberate through the entertainment industry, another major awards show has taken steps to prevent a similar incident from occurring. This year's Tony Awards has included a "no violence policy" among its rules and regulations for the upcoming ceremony, scheduled to be held in New York City on June 12 and aired live on CBS.

The disclosure was made in a letter sent to potential ticket-buyers in advance of the 75th Tony Awards. An FAQ section included in the letter, and obtained by Yahoo Entertainment, reads: "The Tony Awards has a strict no violence policy. In the event of an incident, the perpetrator will be removed from the event immediately."

That policy stands in marked contrast to what happened on the Oscar telecast, where Smith slapped Rock onstage after the comedian made a joke about his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. The King Richard star then returned to his seat, and remained in the audience for the rest of the show, taking the stage again when he won the Best Actor statue for his performance in the film. Smith apologized to Rock on Instagram the day after the awards, and later resigned from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences. On April 8, the Academy Board of Governors voted to ban the actor from the Oscars and other Academy events for 10 years.

HOLLYWOOD, CA - March 27, 2022.    Will Smith slaps Chris Rock onstage during the show  at the 94th Academy Awards at the Dolby Theatre at Ovation Hollywood on Sunday, March 27, 2022.  (Myung Chun / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
Will Smith slaps Chris Rock onstage during the show at the 94th Academy Awards at the Dolby Theatre at Ovation Hollywood on Sunday, March 27, 2022. (Photo: Myung Chun / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

In the aftermath of the Oscars, conflicting accounts have been offered about whether or not Smith was asked to leave the ceremony in the wake of slapping Rock. The Academy has been strongly criticized for its handling of the incident, and issued an apology to members when announcing Smith's decade-long ban.

"The 94th Oscars were meant to be a celebration of the many individuals in our community who did incredible work this past year; however, those moments were overshadowed by the unacceptable and harmful behavior we saw Mr. Smith exhibit on stage," Academy President David Rubin and CEO Dawn Hudson said in a letter, obtained by Yahoo Entertainment. "During our telecast, we did not adequately address the situation in the room. For this, we are sorry. This was an opportunity for us to set an example for our guests, viewers and our Academy family around the world, and we fell short — unprepared for the unprecedented."

Having observed the Oscars fallout, Tony Award producers are clearly preparing for the unprecedented by clearly explaining the ramifications of violating the show's "no violence policy." So far, the move has met with a mixed response on Twitter, including from major Broadway names like Hedwig and the Angry Inch composer Stephen Trask.

The 75th Tony Awards air Sunday, June 12 at 8 p.m. on CBS.

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