Oscar producer Will Packer‘s interview with Good Morning America is barely hot off of the press, and already, sources for Chris Rock are disputing one of Packer’s biggest claims. Namely, that Rock didn’t want Will Smith removed from the ceremony after he walked on stage and slapped the comedian following a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith.
While conveying his version of events, Packer told GMA that Rock didn’t want Smith kicked out of the event. “That was Chris’ energy,” Packer said via Variety. “His tone was not retaliatory, it was not angry, so I was advocating what Rock wanted in that time, which was not to physically remove Will Smith at that time.”
However, sources close to Rock are saying Packer has it mixed up and the comedian was never asked about keeping Smith in the building. Via Deadline:
We’re told that Packer is conflating this from a conversation that happened after Smith slapped him onstage, where Rock told Packer he did not want to press charges. Had he chosen to do that, the LAPD would have removed Smith and arrested him. Had Packer asked Rock if he wanted Smith removed from the building, he might have gotten a different answer. The question of where Smith should have been left in place to receive his Best Actor Oscar and give a speech where he apologized to everyone but Rock, this was never asked of the comedian.
Packer’s version of events puts the onus on Rock for Smith remaining in the building, but sources close to the comedian say that’s not the case at all, which has become par for the course in the aftermath of The Slap as conflicting reports arrive like clockwork as soon as new information comes to light.