The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has sent a letter to its members addressing the incident that occurred at the Oscars ceremony on Sunday evening, when Will Smith walked onto the stage and slapped Chris Rock after the comedian made a joke about the appearance of Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith.
The letter, obtained by Variety, states that Academy leadership is “upset and outraged” over the altercation and how it “overshadowed” a celebration of the film industry community.
“Sunday’s telecast of the 94th Oscars was meant to be a celebration of the many individuals in our community who did incredible work this past year. We are upset and outraged that those moments were overshadowed by the unacceptable and harmful behavior on stage by a nominee,” the message begins.
The letter, signed by Academy president David Rubin and CEO Dawn Hudson, also promises that the “Academy’s Board of Governors will now make a determination on appropriate action for Mr. Smith.” The group intends to meet Wednesday night and is expected to discuss the incident.
The Academy also released a statement regarding the incident shortly after the awards ceremony concluded on Sunday evening: “The Academy does not condone violence of any form. Tonight we are delighted to celebrate our 94th Academy Awards winners, who deserve this moment of recognition from their peers and movie lovers around the world.”
Read the Academy’s full letter below:
Sunday’s telecast of the 94th Oscars was meant to be a celebration of the many individuals in our community who did incredible work this past year. We are upset and outraged that those moments were overshadowed by the unacceptable and harmful behavior on stage by a nominee.
To be clear, we condemn Mr. Smith’s actions that transpired Sunday night.
As outlined in our bylaws, the Academy’s Board of Governors will now make a determination on appropriate action for Mr. Smith. As governed by California law regarding members of nonprofit organizations like the Academy, and set forth in our Standards of Conduct, this must follow an official process that will take a few weeks.
We will continue to update you on any developments, but we also ask that you respect your Board, Academy staff and the process as this unfolds so it can work in the considered way it was intended and mandated.
Please trust that the Board of Governors will conduct this process in a manner that is both expedient and respectful of all involved while maintaining the standards of the Academy.
David Rubin, President
Dawn Hudson, CEO
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