The board of the Academy to meet earlier to discuss Will Smith sanctions

play article
Subscribers can listen to this article

  • The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will discuss possible sanctions against Will Smith in a board meeting on Friday.
  • Smith slapped Chris Rock during a live broadcast of the award ceremony last month.
  • Last week, the King Richard actor resigned from the Academy and said he would accept any further consequences the Board finds appropriate.

Possible sanctions against Will Smith for slapping Chris Rock at the Oscars last month will be discussed on Friday, 10 days earlier than previously scheduled, the body that oversees the awards said.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences brought forward its board meeting for procedural reasons after Smith resigned his membership from the group, meaning the King Richard actor's removal from the group is no longer on the table.

A possible suspension or expulsion for Smith would have meant a mandated longer wait, before discussions could begin, to give him time to submit a written statement defending his behaviour.

With such a wait no longer necessary, it "is in the best interest of all involved for this to be handled in a timely fashion," said Academy president David Rubin in a letter to board members Wednesday.

Smith resigned from the Academy last Friday, five days after he assaulted comedian Rock during a live global broadcast.

The actor said his actions, which overshadowed Hollywood's glitziest night of the year, were "shocking, painful and inexcusable."

Attendees at the Dolby Theatre last month watched open-mouthed as Smith mounted the stage and slapped Rock across the face after the comic made a joke about his wife's closely cropped hair.

Jada Pinkett Smith has alopecia, a condition that causes hair loss.

Half an hour after the astonishing attack, Smith was awarded the best actor Oscar for his role in the sports biopic King Richard.

Smith - only the fifth Black man to win the movie world's highest individual award for an actor - could have faced a rare expulsion from the Academy, but his resignation pre-empted that punishment.

"I am resigning from membership in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and will accept any further consequences the Board deems appropriate," said Smith.

It is unclear what, if any, actions will be taken against Smith by the Academy.

Some have called for Smith to be stripped of his best actor Oscar.

Rock's brother Kenny Rock told the Los Angeles Times that Smith "belittled (Chris Rock) in front of millions of people that watch the show."

Stripping Smith's award is considered unlikely, as the likes of Harvey Weinstein and Roman Polanski did not have their Oscars revoked in the wake of scandals.

Traditionally the best actor Oscar winner is invited to present the following year's best actress award - an honour which could now be called into question.

"I'm hoping the Academy invites me back," said Smith during his tearful acceptance speech at last month's gala.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.