Will Smith Banned From Oscars for 10 Years, ‘Respects’ Academy’s Ruling
“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,” AMPAS president David Rubin and CEO Dawn Hudson said in a letter to the organization’s membership, per Deadline.
Smith walked on stage and slapped Chris Rock for a comment the presenter made about Jada Pinkett Smith at the 94th Academy Awards on March 27. The letter described Smith’s actions as “unacceptable and harmful behavior,” adding, “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,” Smith said in a short response with no further comment.
The letter was made public after a reportedly “contentious” virtual meeting with the Academy’s 54 governors — which includes Laura Dern, Whoopi Goldberg, Rita Wilson, Steven Spielberg, and Ava DuVernay, among others — that started at 9 a.m. PT on April 8. The Academy’s letter accepted responsibility for how it handled the aftermath and apologized for its initial response.
Here, read the full statement from the Academy to its members, (via IndieWire):
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
Smith resigned from the Academy on April 1, saying he was “heartbroken” in a statement announcing his decision.
“My actions at the 94th Academy Awards presentation were shocking, painful, and inexcusable,” he said. “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.”
“I betrayed the trust of the Academy,” he continued. “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.”
The Academy had previously announced it was issuing a “formal review” of Smith’s actions and were set to vote on disciplinary action on April 18. Rubin accepted his resignation on behalf of the organization. Smith’s resignation made the Academy move up its vote to April 8, according to Deadline, which also notes that disinvites, fines, and even a lawsuit were considered as possible punishments, but taking away his Oscar for Best Actor was reportedly out of the question.
There are some who believe Smith should lose his Oscar. But even Harvey Weinstein — currently serving a 23-year prison sentence for sex crimes — didn’t even lose his singular Oscar after being expelled from the Academy in 2017. The Weinstein Company has 81 wins. Many feel taking Smith’s would be an egregious double standard given this context.