The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences has concluded its investigation and deliberation surrounding the now-infamous incident between Best Actor Oscar winner Will Smith and presenter Chris Rock.
With many wondering what disciplinary steps would be taken, the Academy announced in an open letter to their members from President David Rubin and CEO Dawn Hudson that in addition to the acceptance of Smith’s voluntary resignation, the actor will no longer be welcome at any Academy events or proceedings for a period of ten years, effective today.
There is no mention in the letter of any revocation of Smith’s currently held award, nor any language to suggest he would not remain eligible for future nominations.
The letter indicated that this decision was made as a corrective measure for the Academy’s lack of adequate action in the moment to ensure the safety and comfort of all in attendance at the 94th annual Oscars ceremony.
“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,” the letter read.
“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 letter went on to say that the Board of Governors made the decision at a meeting convened today. In addition to accepting Smith’s resignation – which only meant that he could no longer vote on the Academy’s selections – they settled on a decade-long ban of Smith from all Academy proceedings, both in-person and virtual.
“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.”
Smith himself called the incident “shocking, painful, and inexcusable,” and acknowledged that he had “betrayed the trust of the Academy” in an open resignation letter.
“I deprived other nominees and winners of their opportunity to celebrate and be celebrated for their extraordinary work. I am heartbroken,” he wrote, before formally resigning and asserting that he would “accept any further consequences the Board deems appropriate.”
“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 letter concluded on the Smith decision. “We also hope this can begin a time of healing and restoration for all involved and impacted.”