Movie Academy president Will Smith addresses Oscar slap: AMPAS response “inadequate”

Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences President Janet Young told nominees gathered at the annual Oscar nominees luncheon Monday that the organization’s response to Will Smith’s slap during last year’s Oscars was inadequate.

Young made the remarks during opening remarks at the event held at the Beverly Hilton this afternoon.

“I’m sure you all remember that we experienced an unprecedented event at the Oscars,” he told the group. “What happened on stage was completely unacceptable and our agency’s response was inadequate. We learned from this that the Academy must be fully transparent and accountable in our actions, and that you must act swiftly, compassionately and decisively for us and our industry, especially in times of crisis. We should expect nothing less going forward.

Smith took to the stage and hit host Chris Rock on live TV after The Rock made a joke about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. He returned to his seat and remained for the rest of the show, and later that night won the Best Actor Oscar for his role King Richard.

The Oscars aired on March 27 The academy’s board of governors voted April 8 to ban Smith for 10 years from attending the Oscars — and that vote came after Smith voluntarily resigned from the organization weeks earlier.

“The Board has decided that, for a period of 10 years beginning on April 8, 2022, Mr. Smith will not be permitted to attend any Academy event or program in person or in person, including but not limited to the Academy Awards,” then-AMPAS President David Rubin and CEO Don Hudson said. Smith’s “unacceptable and harmful behavior” said at the time.

They added, “We hope this can begin a time of healing and recovery for all involved and affected.”

Today’s luncheon was attended by many of this year’s Oscar nominees, including Steven Spielberg, Roger Deakins, Jerry Bruckheimer, Tom Cruise, Michelle Williams, Sarah Polley, Rian Johnson, Mary Joffres, Diane Warren, Brandon Fraser, Hong Chow, Austin Butler and Paul Meskal.

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