Will Smith Banned From Attending Academy Events For 10 Years As Group Expresses 'Deep Gratitude' To Chris Rock For 'Maintaining Composure'
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Will Smith Banned From Attending Academy Events For 10 Years As Group Expresses 'Deep Gratitude' To Chris Rock For 'Maintaining Composure'

The Academy's Board of Governors has handed out its penalization to Will Smith after slapping Chris Rock at the Oscars. In a letter sent. by Academy President David Rubin and CEO Dawn Hudson that was received by Shadow and Act, the group says in addition to accepting Smith's resignation, it has decided that the actor cannot attend Academy events or programs for a period of 10 years.

In the letter, they express regret for their handling of the situation following what they call smith's "unacceptable and harmful" behavior.

“During our telecast, we did not adequately address the situation in the room,” reads the letter.” 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.

It continues, “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.”

The letter then gives kudos to Chris Rock and other guests, hoping for a time of healing

“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.”

Last week, Smith resigned from the Academy

“I have directly responded to the Academy’s disciplinary hearing notice, and I will fully accept any and all consequences for my conduct,” his statement reads in part. “My actions at the 94th Academy Awards presentation were shocking, painful, and inexcusable. 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. 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. So, I am resigning from membership in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and will accept any further consequences the Board deems appropriate.  Change takes time and I am committed to doing the work to ensure that I never again allow violence to overtake reason.”

Prior to all of this, the Oscars were hot water with folks on social media for perhaps misquoting their involvement in trying to get Smith to leave after he slapped Chris Rock.

The Academy said that they “asked” Smith to leave and he refused. But according to Deadline and other outlets, Smith was merely “suggested” to leave after slapping Rock for making a G.I. Jane joke about Jada Pinkett-Smith’s hair. Reportedly, Academy President David Robin and CEO Dawn Hudson talked to Smith’s rep about the possibility of him leaving the awards show. Reportedly, Smith said he wanted to stay to apologize to the audience.

Another insider states that the Academy did, in fact, make a “firm ask” to Smith to leave. So the ultimate answer is that it’s still not clear what happened that night. Even less clear is what role producer Will Packer had in handling the incident.

Variety states, “sources close to the situation are refuting that the actor was ever formally urged to leave the show. It appears that in the chaos that surrounded the altercation, the Academy and the show’s producer sent mixed message[s] about whether Smith should be expelled from the event….That description of events doesn’t sit well with a few individuals with knowledge of the fraught minutes following the Rock slap. They claim that some Academy members expressed that they wanted Smith removed, but they also say that no formal or explicit ask was ever made.

Oscars producer Will Packer spoke about the situation last Friday on 'Good Morning America'

He says Smith was not asked to leave because that is not what Rock wanted, but a later report also said that Rock was never asked this to begin with and that Packer may have conflated Rock not wanting to press charges with him not wanting Smith to leave.

 

Before resigning, Smith issued a social media apology too

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Will Smith (@willsmith)

Read the full statement on Smith being banned from Academy events for a decade below:

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.

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