“I respect the Academy’s decision”: Will Smith responds after being banned from the Oscars for 10 years

Will Smith has been barred from the Academy (Image via Jason Merritt/Getty Images)
Will Smith has been barred from the Academy (Image via Jason Merritt/Getty Images)

Will Smith can’t attend the Oscars for ten years. The decision was taken by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Board of Governors after the actor slapped Chris Rock on stage at the 94th Academy Awards on March 27.

The actor has responded to the decision in a preemptive letter and said:

“I accept and respect the Academy’s decision. 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.”

He continued:

“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.”

Will Smith resigns from the AMPAS

AMPAS president David Rubin and CEO Dawn Hudson wrote in a letter that the Board has decided that Will Smith won’t be permitted to attend any Academy events for ten years starting April 8, 2022.

Will Smith has recently resigned from the AMPAS (Image via Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
Will Smith has recently resigned from the AMPAS (Image via Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Considering where the issue might end, the Bad Boys star resigned from AMPAS on April 1. Reports say that the organization’s Board of Governors was initially considering a decade-long expulsion as part of its self-described disciplinary proceedings.

Although options like disinvites to future Academy Awards, a fine, or a lawsuit for staining the Oscar brand were being discussed, it was unlikely that Smith would have his Best Actor Oscar taken away from him.

He won’t be allowed to hand out the Best Actress award at the 95th Academy Awards, but it won’t stop him from being nominated in the future. Smith has been a member of the Academy since 2001 and joined five years after the release of his blockbuster film, Independence Day.


Smith’s resignation was why AMPAS preponed its meeting from April 18 to April 8. Rubin explained in an April 6 memo:

“We were required to provide Mr. Smith notice 15 days prior to the board meeting at which such action might be taken and give him the opportunity to provide the board a written statement no less than five days before that meeting.”

However, by that time, there was another discussion on why Smith was not removed from the Dolby Theater after assaulting Chris Rock. Following a meeting of the AMPAS Governors on March 30, their representative released a statement saying that Will was asked to leave the ceremony and refused. They also recognized that they could have handled the situation differently.


Those close to Will Smith said that this was not true and added that Rubin and Hudson requested Smith’s representative Meredith O’Sullivan that he leaves the Dolby. Although Meredith passed on the request to Smith, he stayed in the front row seat for around half an hour before going on stage to accept his Best Actor award.

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Edited by Ravi Iyer
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