Will Smith Banned From Academy Awards for 10 Years Over Oscars Slap

The Academy Board of Governors came to the decision Friday following a meeting that was moved up to address the controversy.

Will Smith has been banned for a decade from attending any Academy events or programs -- in person or virtually -- including the Academy Awards.

In a letter addressed to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences family, and obtained by ET, Academy president David Rubin and CEO Dawn Hudson said the Board of Governors in a Friday meeting concluded that "for a period of 10 years from April 8, 2022, Mr. Smith shall not be permitted to attend any Academy events" including the Academy Awards.

The letter also expressed "deep gratitude to [Chris Rock] for maintaining his composure under extraordinary circumstances."

In a brief statement to ET, Smith responded to the board's conclusion saying, "I accept and respect the Academy's decision."

Rubin and Hudson said that the action taken in response to 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 came under fire after he got up off his seat, walked up to Rock onstage and slapped him in the face during the 94th Academy Awards on March 27. Smith physically confronted the comedian after Rock made a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith's shaved head, after pointing to her from the stage and saying, "Jada, I love ya. G.I. Jane 2, can't wait to see it." Jada's negative reaction was visible on TV, though moments later she was also captured on video laughing and clapping after Rock said, "Will Smith just slapped the s**t out of me." 

The sound on the Oscars broadcast cut out after Rock said Smith's name in reaction. And as the camera panned back to Smith, back at his seat, though there was no sound, you could clearly read what Smith shouted at Rock.

"Keep my wife's name out of your f**king mouth," Smith can be seen shouting back at the comedian.

"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 to the Academy family stated. "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."

Smith, who shortly after the incident would earn his first Oscar win for his role in King Richardapologized to the Academy and its nominees for the tense confrontation. Denzel Washington and Tyler Perry also spoke with Smith following the incident. He has since apologized to Rock. The comedian would later decline to file a police report with the LAPD and briefly addressed the controversy during his first of two sold-out comedy shows in Boston.

Oscars producer Will Packer implied during an interview with Good Morning America that, because Rock was "very dismissive" of the idea of pressing charges against Smith, the comedian also did not want the actor to be removed from the ceremony.

"They were about to physically remove Will Smith. I had not been a part of those conversations. I immediately went to the Academy leadership that was on site, and I said, 'Chris Rock doesn't want that... Rock has made it clear that he does not want to make a bad situation worse,'" Packer said. "That was Chris' energy. His tone was not retaliatory. His tone was not aggressive and angry. I was advocating what Rock wanted in that time, which was not to physically remove Will Smith at that time, because, as it has now been explained to me, that was the only option at that point."

The Academy Board of Governors' meeting came just days after Rubin sent a letter to the board expressing his intent to move the meeting up from its original date of April 18 to Friday, explaining that the actor's resignation from the Academy meant "suspension or expulsion are no longer a possibility" and that the "legally prescribed timetable" also no longer applied.

The letter stated that, under California law and the Academy's Standards of Conduct, the Academy was required to give Smith a 15-day notice prior to the board meeting. The Academy was also required to "give him the opportunity to provide the the board a written statement no less than five days prior to that meeting." But following Smith's resignation from the Academy, the board no longer had to adhere to the Standards of Conduct.