The producer of the Oscars is now saying it was Chris Rock who did not want Will Smith removed from the Dolby Theater after the slap, but according to a well-placed source with direct knowledge ... that's just not true.
Will Packer appeared on "Good Morning America" Friday and gave his blow-by-blow of the evening. He said after the slap he talked to Chris and said the LAPD was present and wanted to know if Chris wanted Will arrested, but Chris made it clear he did not. No one is disputing that happened.
Here's what IS in dispute ... Packer said it was Chris who said he did not want Will removed from the Dolby theater. Sources connected to Chris tell TMZ ... that was NEVER said. As one source put it, "Chris told Packer 'I'm not pressing charges. All I want to do is leave.' He was never asked if he wanted Will removed. This is the Academy covering itself." An Academy source tells TMZ, "Will Packer is not speaking on behalf of the Academy."
Packer's statement more than intimates it was Chris' decision to keep Will in the theater, and our sources simply call that a lie.
TMZ broke the story ... 3 well-placed sources who were present at the Oscars told TMZ ... the Academy never asked Will to leave and Will never refused to leave. The sources say the Academy discussed booting Will but never reached agreement, and 5 minutes before the Best Actor was revealed, Packer went up to Will -- who knew they were considering giving him the boot -- and told him he could stay.