Will Smith banned from the Oscars, Academy events for 10 years

·Writer, Yahoo Entertainment
·4 min read

Will Smith has not been stripped of his Academy Award following his assault of Chris Rock — but he has been banned from the Oscars and other events hosted by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for a decade.

The King Richard star, who won his first gold statue at the awards show on March 27, preemptively resigned from the the Academy one week ago amid the scandal, and his resignation was accepted. On Friday, the Academy Board of Governors, which includes stars like Whoopi Goldberg, Laura Dern, Rita Wilson and Steven Spielberg, convened to discuss disciplinary actions. In an "Open Letter to Our Academy Family," the organization apologized for its mishandling of the situation during the telecast as Smith stayed for the rest of the ceremony after slapping Rock.

Will Smith poses with his Oscar as he arrives at the Vanity Fair Oscar party during the 94th Academy Awards in Beverly Hills, California, U.S., March 27, 2022
Will Smith poses with his Oscar as he arrives at the Vanity Fair Oscar party during the 94th Academy Awards in Beverly Hills, California, U.S., March 27, 2022. (Photo: Reuters)

"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," Academy President David Rubin and CEO Dawn Hudson said in a letter, obtained by Yahoo Entertainment.

"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 continued. "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," the letter reads.

"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."

Despite several critics calling for the Academy to strip Smith of his Oscar, Goldberg stated last week that she didn't believe that was a viable punishment and it does not appear to have been seriously entertained by the Academy.

Smith, 53, said in a statement through his rep, "I accept and respect the Academy's decision."

In addition to apologizing to the Academy and show attendees (but not to Rock) while accepting his Best Actor trophy during the ceremony, Smith posted a public mea culpa last week on Instagram and then issued a further statement late in the week.

"My actions at the 94th Academy Awards presentation were shocking, painful, and inexcusable. The list of those I have hurt is long and includes Chris, his family, many of my dear friends and loved ones, all those in attendance, and global audiences at home," the actor told Yahoo Entertainment last Friday, via his publicist.

"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," Smith continued.

"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," he concluded. "Change takes time and I am committed to doing the work to ensure that I never again allow violence to overtake reason."

Smith also said he "directly responded to the Academy's disciplinary hearing notice" and "will fully accept any and all consequences for my conduct."

SAG-AFTRA, the union representing actors which Smith is a part of, investigated the incident and disciplinary actions are on the table.

Rock, who declined to press charges against Smith, has yet to fully address the incident. Yahoo reached out to a rep for the comedian, but did not receive a response.

MORE: Will Smith's slap causing slow-down on his upcoming projects

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