Janet Yang, the current president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), admitted at the start of the 2023 Oscars Nominees Luncheon that the organization did not properly handle the fallout over Will Smith slapping Chris Rock during the 2022 Academy Awards ceremony.
“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, and particularly in times of crisis you must act swiftly, compassionately and decisively for ourselves and for our industry. You should and can expect no less form us going forward.”
Smith took to the stage during the 2022 Oscars and slapped Rock across the face while the latter was presenting the best documentary feature category. Rock cracked a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith’s bald head. After the slap, Smith returned to his seat and repeatedly screamed at Rock, “Keep my wife’s name out your fucking mouth!” The ceremony continued with Smith remaining in attendance as he won the best actor Oscar for his performance in “King Richard.”
The 2022 Oscars aired at the end of March. Smith resigned from the Academy on April 1, writing in a statement, “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.”
It took several more days for the Academy to announce it was revoking Smith’s AMPAS membership and banning him from attending the Oscars ceremony for 10 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.”
VIP+ Survey: Will Smith’s Post-Slap Q Scores Revealed
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.”
In the months since the Oscars slap, Smith has headlined Apple’s slavery drama “Emancipation” and confirmed that a fourth “Bad Boys” movie is in development at Sony.