The Academy Of Motion Pictures Arts And Sciences has issued its ruling on Will Smith’s behavior at the Oscars late last month: A 10-year ban from attending any Academy-held events, including, of course, the Oscars themselves.
Smith has been in the crosshairs of the Academy ever since March 27, when he walked onto the stage at the Dolby Theater and slapped comedian Chris Rock after Rock made a joke about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. (You may have heard about it.) Although Smith ultimately stayed in the theater that night—and gave an emotionally charged speech while picking up his Best Actor Oscar for King Richard—the following days saw the Academy issue statements that it would be taking disciplinary action against him.
(There was also a whole back and forth about whether he was asked to leave the ceremony, or refused to leave the ceremony, etc., which we’re probably never going to get a 100 percent reliable answer on.)
Smith responded to news of his upcoming censure by offering both an apology, and his resignation, to the Academy (as well as an apology to Rock, and his fellow attendees at the event). In accepting said resignation, Academy president Dave Rubin made it clear that the organization would still be holding its disciplinary hearing—and, indeed, accelerated proceedings, moving them to today instead of a few weeks from now, as previously announced.
The big issue on the table, of course, was whether Smith was going to get to keep his Oscar—his first, after being nominated for Best Actor in 2002 and 2007. The Academy apparently decided to shy away from that hypocrisy-accusation-baiting bag of worms, though, and instead instituted this 10 year ban. (Including, obviously, keeping Smith from fulfilling the Best Actor winner’s traditional role of handing out the Best Actress award at the next year’s event.) The sentence doesn’t seem to preclude Smith from winning another Oscar, mind you, but he’ll have to send a proxy to pick it up for him in that event.
Smith issued a short statement not long after the Academy revealed its verdict: “I accept and respect the Academy’s decision.”
Here’s the Academy’s full statement:
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.
David Rubin and Dawn Hudson