The Academy asked Will Smith to leave

March 31, 2022

While we would like to clarify that Mr. Smith was asked to leave the ceremony and refused, we also recognize we could have handled the situation differently.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in their statement regarding Will Smith slapping Chris Rock during the Oscars.
  • Background: Will Smith slapped Chris Rock on live TV on Sunday. Less than one hour after the slap, Smith went on to win the Academy Award for best actor in a leading role.
  • Smith violated the academy’s standards of conduct, which states that members must “behave ethically by upholding the Academy’s values of respect for human dignity, inclusion, and a supportive environment that fosters creativity.” The academy’s board of governors met Wednesday to discuss future disciplinary proceedings against Smith.
  • Following their meeting, the academy shared, “Things unfolded in a way we could not have anticipated,” and that they asked Smith to leave, though he refused.

Why It Matters: The academy’s discussion about discipline for Smith’s actions is ongoing, but he could face suspension, expulsion, or other sanctions. In the academy’s 94-year history, only five members have been expelled: Carmine Caridi (2004), Harvey Weinstein (2017), Bill Cosby (2018), Roman Polanski (2018), and Adam Kimmel (2021).

Academy: Will Smith refused to leave Oscars after Rock slap (Associated Press)

Would the Academy Ever Expel Will Smith? (Vanity Fair)

by Jenna Lee,