At the opening of the 2023 Oscars Nominees Luncheon, Janet Yang, the current president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), acknowledged that the organization did not handle the backlash over Will Smith slapping Chris Rock during the 2022 Academy Awards ceremony well.
“I’m sure you all remember we experienced an unprecedented event at the Oscars,” Yang told attendees, which included the likes of Tom Cruise. “What happened onstage was fully unacceptable, and the response from our organization was inadequate. We learned from this that the Academy must be fully transparent and accountable in our actions. Particularly in times of crisis, you must act swiftly, compassionately, and decisively for yourself and our industry. You should and can expect no less from us going forward.”
Rock was presenting the award for the best documentary feature when Will Smith entered the stage at the 2022 Oscars and smacked Rock across the face. Regarding Jada Pinkett Smith’s bald head, Rock made a joke. Following the slap, Smith jumped back into his chair and yelled at Rock, “Keep my wife’s name out of your fucking mouth!” Smith remained present as the event went on and was given the best actor Oscar for his work in “King Richard.”
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At the end of March, the 2022 Oscars were shown. On April 1, Smith announced his resignation from the Academy, saying, “I betrayed the confidence of the Academy. I denied other nominees and winners the chance to honor and be honored for their outstanding efforts. My heart is broken.
It took the Academy a few more days to declare that Smith’s AMPAS membership had been revoked and that he would no longer be permitted to attend the Oscars event for the next ten years.
“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 Academy said in an April 8 statement. “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.”
Will Smith apologized again for his actions in a July 2022 video post in which he revealed, “I’ve reached out to Chris, and the message that came back is he’s not ready to talk, and when he is, he will reach out.”
Since the Oscars snub, Will Smith has starred in Apple’s slavery thriller “Emancipation” and revealed that Sony is working on a fourth “Bad Boys” film.