Today, the Academy announced the punishment for actor Will Smith’s Oscar slap: Smith is now banned from attending the Oscars and associated events for a 10-year period. The Academy Board of Governors announced the punishment following a meeting on Friday morning. It was originally scheduled for April 18 but was pushed up after Smith’s resignation announcement.
“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,” the Academy’s president David Rubin and CEO Dawn Hudson said in a statement. “We also hope this can begin a time of healing and restoration for all involved and impacted.”
In a brief response to the punishment, Smith said, “I accept and respect the Academy’s decision.” Several of the actor’s upcoming film projects have been put on hold in addition to his suspension.
Before Oscar presenter Chris Rock announced the winner for documentary feature at last month’s Oscars, he cracked a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith’s hair, referring to her bald hairstyle due to her alopecia condition. Afterward, her husband Smith walked up to Rock and slapped him with his open hand. The U.S. broadcast cut out the audio, but international feed picked up the full interaction.
“Wow, Will Smith just smacked the s*** out of me,” Rock said, to which Smith hollered back in his seat, “Keep my wife’s name out of your f***ing mouth!”
In an attempt to keep things light, Rock replied with “Wow, dude, it was a G.I. Jane joke.” Smith yelled the same exclamation above. Less than an hour later, Smith addressed the outburst during his acceptance speech for Best Actor in King Richard but did not directly apologize to Rock. In a statement the following Monday, Smith posted an apology on his Instagram.
The confrontation sparked much discussion and controversy in the media in the weeks after. The police were ready to arrest Smith at the Oscars, but Rock declined to file a police report and chose not to address the incident at recent standup shows.
Read the Academy’s full statement below:
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.