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Academy President Calls Will Smith Slap “Unacceptable,” Response Was “Inadequate”

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We’re quickly approaching this year’s Oscars ceremony and unsurprisingly, Will Smith is a hot topic. On year ago, the acclaimed actor became irate with Chris Rock in th middle of the show’s airing. He was seen taking to the Oscars stage and slapping Rock before returning to his seat. Smith was able to finish out the show in the audience and even took home the award for Best Actor. It was a bittersweet moment as his accomplishment was applauded while simultaneously facing ridicule.

The controversy that unfolded afterward was the biggest fallout of Smith’s career. Rock still hasn’t directly addressed the incident, and it’s rumored that won’t happen until his next Netflix special airs. Recently, The Academy hosted its 2023 Oscars Nominees Luncheon, and during the event, its president Janet Yang spoke about last year’s controvery.

Hollywood’s elite was in attendance to celebrate the March ceremony. “I’m sure you all remember we experienced an unprecedented event at the Oscars,” said Yang. “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.”

Immediately following the slapping incident, Smith released a statement apologizing for his behavior. His future with The Academy hung in the balance until they revealed the actor’s punishment. Not only would his membership be revoked, but he was banned from attending the Oscars for 10 years. It was a blow to Smith, who has been hailed for his unblemished Hollywood record until that time.

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“The 94th Oscars were meant to be a celebration of the many individuals in our community who did incredible work this past year,” The Academy previously said in a statement last 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.”

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