Academy bans Will Smith from attending Oscars for 10 years

Smith was punished for slapping Chris Rock at the 2022 Oscars.

ByGma Team via via logo
April 08, 2022, 3:26 PM

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' Board of Governors has banned Will Smith from attending any academy event or program, including the Oscars, for 10 years.

"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," reads a letter from the academy, signed by Academy President David Rubin and CEO Dawn Hudson, announcing the decision.

This disciplinary decision comes after the viral moment at the 2022 Oscars when Smith walked on stage and slapped presenter Rock for a joke he had made about Smith's wife, Jada Pinkett Smith.

The academy apologized for how the incident was handled on its part, saying it was "unprepared for the unprecedented."

The letter also said this outcome is "a step toward a larger goal of protecting the safety of our performers and guests, and restoring trust in the Academy." The academy concluded by saying it hoped this "can begin a time of healing and restoration for all involved and impacted."

Smith responded in a statement, saying, "I accept and respect the Academy's decision."

Rock's joke was about Pinkett Smith starring in "G.I. Jane 2" because of her shaved head. This was a reference to a nonexistent sequel to the 1997 film "G.I. Jane," which starred Demi Moore as a character who shaved her head when becoming the first woman to enter Navy SEAL training.

PHOTO: Will Smith (R) hits at Chris Rock as Rock spoke on stage during the 94th Academy Awards in Hollywood, Los Angeles, March 27, 2022.
Will Smith (R) hits at Chris Rock as Rock spoke on stage during the 94th Academy Awards in Hollywood, Los Angeles, March 27, 2022.
Brian Snyder/Reuters

Pinkett Smith has been outspoken about her struggle with alopecia, a condition which results in hair loss. A longtime friend of Rock told ABC News the comedian was unaware of Pinkett Smith's alopecia.

After returning to his seat, Smith yelled at Rock twice, saying, "Keep my wife's name out your f------ mouth."

The Academy's Board of Governors was originally scheduled to meet on April 18 to explore disciplinary proceedings against Smith for what they described in a statement from March 30 as "violations of the Academy's Standards of Conduct, including inappropriate physical contact, abusive or threatening behavior, and compromising the integrity of the Academy."

In the same statement, the academy called the altercation between Smith and Rock a "deeply shocking, traumatic event to witness in-person and on television." The academy also said Smith had been "asked to leave the ceremony and refused," acknowledging they could have "handled the situation differently."

The meeting date was moved up this week by Rubin.

PHOTO: Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith attend the 94th Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood and Highland, March 27, 2022 in Hollywood, California.
Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith attend the 94th Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood and Highland, March 27, 2022 in Hollywood, California.
Mike Coppola/Getty Images

Will Packer, producer of the 94th Academy Awards, told "Good Morning America" in an interview, which aired April 1, that the Los Angeles Police Department was ready to arrest Smith at the Oscars.

"The LAPD came and needed to talk to Chris. And so they came into my office and they were laying out very clearly what Chris' rights were," he said. "They were saying, 'This is battery. We will go get him. We will go get him right now, you can press charges, we can arrest him.'"

Packer recalled Rock being "dismissive" of the options presented to him and insisting he was "fine."

Rock addressed the slap at his first comedy show after the Oscars, briefly touching on it when he asked the audience at the March 30 event, "How was your weekend?"

PHOTO: Jada Pinkett Smith, Willow Smith, Will Smith, Jaden Smith and Trey Smith attend the 2022 Vanity Fair Oscar Party, March 27, 2022, in Beverly Hills, Calif.
Jada Pinkett Smith, Willow Smith, Will Smith, Jaden Smith and Trey Smith attend the 2022 Vanity Fair Oscar Party, March 27, 2022, in Beverly Hills, Calif.
Lionel Hahn/Getty Images

"I don't have a bunch of s--- about what happened," he continued. "I had like a whole show I wrote before this weekend. I'm kinda processing what happened. So at some point, I'll talk about that s---."

While suspension and expulsion from the academy were listed as possible disciplinary outcomes of the Academy's Board of Governors meeting, Smith resigned his academy membership on April 1.

Smith said in a statement he was "heartbroken" over the incident and that he had "betrayed the trust of the Academy," adding that he will "fully accept any and all consequences" that the Board of Governors "deems appropriate."

"I have directly responded to the Academy's disciplinary hearing notice, and I will fully accept any and all consequences for my conduct," Smith added, calling his actions "shocking, painful, and inexcusable." Rubin responded to Smith's resignation on behalf of the academy, saying it had been "received and accepted."

Smith had previously apologized to Rock on March 28, calling himself "a work in progress."

"Violence in all of its forms is poisonous and destructive," he wrote. "Jokes at my expense are a part of the job, but a joke about Jada's medical condition was too much for me to bear and I reacted emotionally."

PHOTO: Will Smith accepts the Actor in a Leading Role award for "King Richard" onstage during the 94th Academy Awards, March 27, 2022, in Hollywood, Calif.
Will Smith accepts the Actor in a Leading Role award for "King Richard" onstage during the 94th Academy Awards, March 27, 2022, in Hollywood, Calif.
Neilson Barnard/Getty Images

"I would like to publicly apologize to you, Chris. I was out of line and I was wrong," Smith continued. "I am embarrassed and my actions were not indicative of the man I want to be. There is no place for violence in a world of love and kindness."

During his Oscars acceptance speech for winning best actor for his role in "King Richard," Smith apologized to the academy and his fellow nominees in a heartfelt acceptance speech. He addressed the controversial moment indirectly but did not say Rock's name or apologize to him, saying "love will make you do crazy things."

After the show, the academy tweeted, "The Academy does not condone violence of any form. Tonight we are delighted to celebrate our 94th Academy Awards winners, who deserve this moment of recognition from their peers and movie lovers around the world." The LAPD told ABC News after the ceremony it was "aware" of the altercation, but no police report had been filed.

Pinkett Smith briefly reacted to the altercation on March 29, sharing an Instagram post which read, "This is a season for healing and I'm here for it."

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