In a statement signed by Academy president David Rubin and CEO Dawn Hudson, and reported by Variety magazine, the Academy said:
“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.”
The statement goes on to say that “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.”
The Academy also promised that the “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.”
Shortly after the statement was released, Smith responded with “I accept and respect the Academy’s decision,” CNN’s Brian Stetler reported.
Smith resigned last Friday from the motion picture academy and said he would accept any further punishment the organization imposed.
“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,” Smith’s statement said.
“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.
“Change takes time and I am committed to doing the work to ensure that I never again allow violence to overtake reason,” he concluded.
The incident happened at the Oscars on March 27, when Smith strode from his front-row Dolby Theatre seat on to the stage and smacked Rock, who had made a joke at the expense of Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. Moments later, he went on to win the best actor award for his role in King Richard.
Rock, who was about to present Oscar for Best Documentary, declined to file charges when asked by police.
Smith’s resignation means that he can no longer vote with the Academy, but it does not prevent him from being nominated for future Oscar awards, reports CNN.
– With files from Global News
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