The Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced after an emergency meeting that they were banning Will Smith from all of the organization’s events for 10 years for slapping Chris Rock at the 2022 Oscars.
If you were on another planet or watching Netflix during the broadcast of the 94th Academy Awards Will Smith slapped presenter Chris Rock across the face after Rock made a joke about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith and her shaved head, comparing her to Demi Moore’s depiction of a Navy Seal hopeful in the 1997 movie G.I. Jane.
Rock was in shock, but maintained his composure and continued with the event, even after Smith yelled obscenities at him from his seat just before Rock presented Questlove (Ahmir Khalib Thompson), Joseph Patel, Robert Fyvolent and David Dinerstein the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature for Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised.)
About 40 minutes after the slap, Smith accepted the Oscar for Best Actor for his performance in King Richard. During the speech, Smith seemed to ramble almost incoherently as he attempted to apologize for his behavior.
Later that same evening, after he was seen partying down as if nothing happened, Smith took to Instagram to give a more authentic and eloquent apology to Chris Rock specifically and “the Academy, the producers of the show, all the attendees and everyone watching around the world.” He also apologized to the Williams family who inspired the film King Richard.
Chris Rock refused to press charges at the time and has yet to formally address the matter.
In the week following the altercation, the Board of Governors of the Academy scheduled an emergency meeting for April 18th, but Smith couldn’t wait to find out what punishment he would receive and attempted to circumvent their decision by announcing that he was resigning from the Academy.
The Academy accepted his resignation, but still maintained that they were in control of his consequences and announced that they would still meet to discuss the incident. After Smith’s resignation, the board decided to move up the meeting from April 18th to April 8th and stated:
“The April 18 date was set in accordance with California law and our Standards of Conduct because our agenda included possible suspension or expulsion of Mr. Smith from membership,” Rubin wrote in a letter provided to the press. “We were required to provide Mr. Smith notice 15 days prior to the board meeting at which such action might be taken, and also give him the opportunity to provide the board a written statement no less than five days prior to that meeting.”
Once Smith resigned, the extra time was no longer required by law and the virtual meeting occurred on Friday April 8th, 2022 at 9 AM PT. Immediately following the meeting the board released a letter to Academy members explaining the actions they decided.
Read AMPAS President David Rubin and CEO Dawn Hudson’s full letter to Academy members here:
“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.
“I accept and respect the Academy’s decision,” Will Smith said in a brief statement to the press. The 53-year-old actor will retain possession and honor of winning the Best Actor Oscar for his performance in King Richard.
Reel 360 hopes Will and his family have the time to heal from this.
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