Last month, the actor struck Chris Rock on-stage during the Oscars ceremony following a joke about his wife Jada Pinkett Smith’s shaved head. Following numerous apologies over the incident, Smith resigned from the Academy and described his actions as “shocking, painful, and inexcusable”.
In a new statement, the Academy reflected on Smith’s behaviour, praised Rock’s “composure”, and called for “a time of healing and restoration for all involved and impacted” (per Variety). Read the Academy’s statement in full 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.”
Smith, who resigned from the Academy over the controversy last week, replied shortly after in a statement, saying “I accept and respect the Academy’s decision.”
Despite requests by some industry figures for Smith’s Oscar – which he won on the same night for his performance in King Richard – to be revoked, including one of Chris Rock’s brothers, the Oscars have no legal authority to do so.