Following Will Smith slapping Chris Rock at The Academy Awards two weeks ago, the actor resigned from The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, but now another punishment has been doled out by the Board of Governors from the Academy, a ban from the Oscars ceremony. In a statement they announced that Smith has been banned from the Oscars "for a period of 10 years," beginning today, April 8, 2022. Smith will not be allowed to attend "any Academy events or programs, in person or virtually, including but not limited to the Academy Awards." In a new statement, Smith said: "I accept and respect the Academy's decision."
"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," the statement from the Board of Governors read. "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."
They continue, "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."
Members of the Boards of Governors hail from the different branches of the Academy including in part director Steven Spielberg, screenwriter Eric Roth, screenwriter Larry Karaszewski, actress Whoopi Goldberg, and director Ava DuVernay. 54 people sit on the board, with their disciplinary meeting about Smith moving up in light of his resignation from The Academy (which they accepted).
In his resignation from The Academy, Smith wrote an open letter, apologizing the Rock, his family, and others. "I have directly responded to the Academy's disciplinary hearing notice, and I will fully accept any and all consequences for my conduct," Smith wrote last week. "I betrayed the trust of the Academy. I deprived other nominees and winners of their opportunity to celebrate and be celebrated for their extraordinary work. I am heartbroken. I want to put the focus back on those who deserve attention for their achievements and allow the Academy to get back to the incredible work it does to support creativity and artistry in film. So, I am resigning from membership in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and will accept any further consequences the Board deems appropriate. Change takes time and I am committed to doing the work to ensure that I never again allow violence to overtake reason."
(Cover photo by Myung Chun / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)