The board of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences banned Will Smith from all of its events, including the Oscars, for 10 years after the Best Actor winner slapped presenter Chris Rock on stage at the Oscars.
Smith publicly apologized and resigned from the academy. The Academy’s decision on Friday comes after its chairman, David Rubin, rushed to a board meeting scheduled for April 18 in light of Smith’s voluntary resignation. In a letter to board members, Rubin said Abba’s rules provided for a 15-day notice to consider suspending membership, but after Smith resigned, which was no longer valid.
The Academy said in a statement that Smith’s actions were “unacceptable and harmful.”
“The 94th Oscars were meant to be a celebration of the many people in our community who did incredible work last year,” the letter continued. “However, these moments were overshadowed by the unacceptable and harmful behavior that we saw Mr. Smith exhibit on stage.”
The Academy also apologized for handling the situation during its live broadcast, adding: “During our TV show, we did not adequately address the situation in the room. For that, we are sorry. “This was an opportunity for us to set an example for our guests, the spectators and the family of our Academy around the world, and we were not prepared for the unprecedented.”
Smith slapped Rock after the comedian joked about the appearance of Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. Shortly after the incident, Smith won the Best Actor Award for his role as Richard Williams, Aphrodite and Serena’s father, in King Richard. Abbas later said that Smith was asked to leave the ceremony after the incident and refused, although later reports suggested that this was not a formal request and that the series’ producer, Will Packer, wanted to stay. It was later reported that Rubin and Ampas CEO Dawn Hudson had a secret meeting with Smith two days after the Oscars.
The decision to exclude Smith for a decade came from “tons of discussions” about the consequences of the attack, a board member told CNN. Smith lost his vote in the Academy by resigning. Had he been fired from the board, Smith would have joined a small, infamous group of expelled men from the Academy – Harvey Weinstein, Roman Polanski, Bill Cosby – as well as actress Carmine Caridi, who was fired for sharing the awards.
In his resignation, Smith said he “will accept any further consequences the council deems appropriate.”
“I betrayed the confidence of the Academy,” he added. “I deprived other candidates and winners of the opportunity to celebrate and be honored for their outstanding work.”