Nearly two weeks after Will Smith slapped the hell out of Chris Rock for not keeping his wife’s name out of his mouth, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has finally decided how it will punish the actor for his unprecedented actions. THR reports The Best Actor winner will be banned from attending The Oscars or any other Academy-related events for 10 years.
Smith will be able to keep his Best Actor award, something Whoopi Goldberg, an Academy board member stated before the 54 members ultimately decided on the actor’s punishment. Smith will also be eligible for future nominations but can’t be in the building to accept his Oscar if he wins.
The Friday afternoon decision from The Academy’s 54-person Board of governors comes after weeks of Twitter diatribe, opinions from other actors and actresses, and an apology from Will Smith himself. The King Richard star also resigned from the Academy a week ago as the Board of governors mulled over what direction it would take in determining what course of action it would take against Smith for violating the standards of conduct.
Following “the slap,” The Academy’s CEO Dawn Hudson and president David Rubin plus producer Will Packer came under fire for their handling of the situation and for allowing Will Smith to remain in the Dolby Theater. There were conflicting reports on whether or not Smith was asked to leave, and he eventually won his Oscar for Best Actor and apologized for his behavior but didn’t apologize to Chris Rock that night. Smith and his family later attended Vanity Fair’s Oscars afterparty, where he danced the night away to his songs. A few days later, he eventually did apologize to Rock for slapping him on national television.
In an open letter to its members, Hudson and Rubin said they “did not adequately address the situation in the room”. They apologized, admitting they “fell short — unprepared for the unprecedented.” They also expressed “deep gratitude to Mr. Rock for maintaining his composure under extraordinary circumstances” and thanked the night’s host, winners, and guests for keeping it together following the incident. Through his spokesperson, Smith issued a small statement saying, “I accept and respect the Academy’s decision.”
We hope we can finally put this entire situation behind us and move on. You can read The Academy’s full open letter below.
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.
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.
Today, the Board of Governors convened a meeting to discuss how best to respond to Will Smith’s actions at the Oscars, in addition to accepting his resignation. The Board has decided, for a period of 10 years from April 8, 2022, Mr. Smith shall not be permitted to attend any Academy events or programs, in person or virtually, including but not limited to the Academy Awards.
We want to express our deep gratitude to Mr. Rock for maintaining his composure under extraordinary circumstances. We also want to thank our hosts, nominees, presenters, and winners for their poise and grace during our telecast.
This action we are taking today in response to Will Smith’s behavior is a step toward a larger goal of protecting the safety of our performers and guests and restoring trust in the Academy. We also hope this can begin a time of healing and restoration for all involved and impacted.
Photo: Robert Gauthier / Getty