Academy Awards telecast producer Will Packer broke down the behind-the-scenes information regarding what took place after Will Smith slapped Chris Rock during the ceremony. In an interview with Good Morning America, Packer told TJ Holmes he initially thought the incident was part of Rock's segment but realized it wasn't the case soon afterward. Packer stated:
I said: 'Watch this, he's gonna kill.' Because I knew he had an amazing lineup of jokes that we had -- we had him in the prompter. He didn't tell one of the planned jokes, but you can't make it up. He was just immediately freestyling. But I tell you, if there's anybody that you don't worry about going out in front of a live audience and riffing off the cuff, [it's] Chris Rock. Nobody's better.
After Smith's explosive outburst after the slap, Packer saw it wasn't part of Rock's routine and went to Rock to find out what happened and if it was okay. Packer explained:
I said: 'Did he really hit you?' And he looked at me and he goes: 'I just took a punch from Muhammad Ali.' It's exactly what he said, as only Chris can, you know. He was immediately in joke mode, but you could tell that he was very much still in shock.
According to Packer, LAPD went into his office with Rock, wanted to talk with the comic on how to proceed, and informed him he could press charges against Smith and have him arrested on the spot. Packer said it was Rock who decided not to press charges, and he was "fine" in the aftermath of the slap. Packer stated his co-producer Shayla Cowan told him the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences wanted to have Smith removed, but Packer decided against it. Packer revealed:
It happened right before the best actor award. I immediately went to the Academy leadership that was on site and I said: 'Chris Rock doesn't want that,' I said: 'Rock has made it clear that he does not want to make a bad situation worse.'
Watch the interview below.