The punishment was announced by the Academy Board of Governors following a meeting on Friday morning. The meeting had originally been scheduled for April 18th, but was pushed up after Smith announced his resignation from the Academy and said he would not contest any additional punishments.
“This 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,” the Academy’s president David Rubin and CEO Dawn Hudson said in a statement. “We also hope this can begin a time of healing and restoration for all involved and impacted.”
In a brief statement in response to the punishment, Smith said, “I accept and respect the Academy’s decision.”
Prior to announcing the winner for documentary feature at last month’s Oscars, presenter Chris Rock cracked a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith’s hair, prompting her husband Will Smith to walk up to Rock and strike him with his open hand.
The US broadcast quickly cut the sound, but the international feed captured the full interaction. Rock said, “Wow, Will Smith just smacked the shit out of me.” Smith returned to his seat, where he hollered, “Keep my wife’s name out of your fucking mouth!”
“Wow, dude, it was a G.I. Jane joke,” Rock retorted. Smith yelled again, “Keep my wife’s name out your fucking mouth!”
Pinkett Smith announced last year that she had shaved her head after struggling with alopecia. In an Instagram post, she wrote, “Now at this point, I can only laugh… y’all know I’ve been struggling with alopecia. Just all of a sudden, one day…it just showed up like that. Now, this is going to be a little bit more difficult for me to hide. So, I thought I’d just share it so y’all not asking any questions…Mama’s gonna have to take it down to the scalp so nobody thinks she got brain surgery or something. Me and this alopecia are going to be friends … period!”