The Academy governors said on Friday (April 8) that Will Smith will not be allowed to attend the Oscars or any Academy events or programmes in person or virtually for 10 years from today in light of his “unacceptable and harmful” behaviour when he slapped Chris Rock at the 94th Academy Awards.
The action comes after the Academy accepted Smith’s resignation last week and it is understood does not preclude Smith from being eligible for Oscar nominations in the future, although were he to earn a nod before restrictions lift on April 8 2032 he would not be able to attend the ceremony as a nominee.
It also means that Smith will not appear on stage next year to present the best lead actress Oscar in accordance with Academy tradition.
Shortly after the ruling Smith issued a statement that read, “I accept and respect the Academy’s decision.”
In a letter to members following a governors’ meeting Academy president David Rubin and CEO Dawn Hudson said, “ 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.”
The Academy acted after Smith slapped Rock on stage and then proceeded to shout expletives at the presenter from his seat, in retaliation over a joke Rock made about the shaved head of Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. Later that evening Smith won the best lead actor Oscar for King Richard.
Precisely what impact the incident will have on Smith’s career remain to be seen. He stars in Antoine Fuqua’s runaway slave thriller Emancipation for Apple, which won just the best picture Oscar with Coda, although the streamer has not yet dated Fuqua’s film. According to reports Netflix has quietly put crime project Fast And Loose, which was to star Smith, on the back burner. He also has Bad Boys 4 in development at Sony.
It is understood other Academy matters such as the decision to present eight Oscars in the hour prior to the live telecast, will be address another time. Steven Spielberg and dozens of other prominent filmmakers and people in the industry were opposed to the idea.
The letter is below in full.
Open Letter to Our Academy Family
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.