In a statement issued on Tuesday evening, Academy (Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences or AMPAS) President David Rubin and CEO Dawn Hudson declared that the highest-ranking members of the Academy “are upset and outraged” by the actions of actor Will Smith on Sunday night when he walked across the stage and hit comedian Chris Rock for making a joke about his wife Jada Pinkett-Smith's hair.
“We are upset and outraged that those moments were overshadowed by the unacceptable and harmful behavior on stage by a nominee,” the statement read. “To be clear, we condemn Mr. Smith's actions that transpired Sunday night.”
The Academy announced that the investigation into the incident and the decision on appropriate disciplinary measures will take place in the coming weeks, in accordance with the bylaws of the organization and California law. Rubin and Hudson issued a statement to Academy members, paraphrased here: “Sunday's broadcast of the 94th Oscars was supposed to be an opportunity to celebrate the many people in our community who performed outstanding work over the past year. We're outraged and angry that these moments were ruined by the unacceptable and dangerous behavior of a nominee. We want to be clear that we condemn Mr. Smith's conduct that occurred Sunday night. As per our bylaws, our Board of Governors will now decide on the appropriate actions in the case of Mr. Smith. According to California law governing the members of non-profit organizations such as the Academy and as outlined in our Code of Conduct, this must follow an official procedure which can take a few weeks. We will keep you informed on any developments; however, we would also like you to be respectful of the Academy's Board, Academy staff and the process in this regard to ensure that it operates in the manner as it was designed and directed. You can trust that your Board of Governors will conduct this process in a way that is efficient and respectful of everyone participating while maintaining the high quality that is the norm for our Academy.”
On Monday, the Screen Actors Guild (SAG-AFTRA) publicly denounced the actor's “unacceptable” behavior while vowing to ensure that it is “appropriately” addressed. “As the union representing presenters and other performers working on the Oscars, SAG-AFTRA is focused on ensuring our members always work in a safe environment,” SAG-AFTRA stated. “Violence or physical abuse in the workplace is never appropriate, and the union condemns any such conduct…The incident that involved Will Smith and Chris Rock at the Academy Awards was unacceptable. We were in talks with ABC, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences as well as ABC regarding this incident, and we will ensure that this behavior is addressed appropriately. SAG-AFTRA will not provide any information regarding any ongoing member disciplinary proceedings.”
After Smith ran across the stage and attacked Rock, yelling obscenities at him, he accepted the prize for Best Actor. He appeared during his acceptance speech to excuse his actions, dismissing them with “love will make you do crazy things.”
Smith was later seen at the Vanity Fair Oscars party and partied the night away.