Will Smith has been banned from attending the Academy Awards for the next decade after slapping Chris Rock during the ceremony last month.
On Friday, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences called Smith’s behavior “unacceptable” in a letter to organization members and said the recently minted Academy Award winner would not be allowed at any events or programs hosted by the group for 10 years.
“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 wrote in a letter to members, obtained by NBC News.
Smith confronted Rock onstage after the comedian made a joke about the close-cropped hair of Jada Pinkett Smith, Smith’s wife. Pinkett Smith has alopecia, a skin condition that can result in hair loss. After striking Rock, Smith returned to his seat and screamed profanities at his fellow star.
The Academy’s board was initially set to convene on April 18 to discuss possible disciplinary actions, including a potential suspension or ban from the organization. However, last week Smith resigned from the Academy calling his own actions “shocking, painful, and inexcusable.”
Smith apologized to the Academy and his fellow nominees during his acceptance speech for the best actor award, which he won for his portrayal of Richard Williams in “King Richard.” He apologized to Rock via social media the day after the ceremony.
Rock, meanwhile, has refrained from commenting too deeply on the slap. He told a crowd at a comedy show last week in Boston that he was “still processing what happened.”
“During our telecast, we did not adequately address the situation in the room,” Academy executives said in the letter Friday. “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 Academy has said that Smith refused to leave the ceremony after he struck the comedian. However, there are conflicting reports about whether Smith was actually asked to leave or if it was just suggested that he depart before his award category was called.
The Los Angeles Police Department was ready to arrest Smith at the awards ceremony Sunday, according to a producer of the show, but Rock declined to press charges.
Read the full letter from the Academy:
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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