President of the Academy Janet Yang reiterated that the organization’s response to Will Smith slapping Chris Rock at the 2022 ceremony was “inappropriate” and that “we must act quickly, compassionately and decisively” on similar issues in the future.
Yang addressed the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ response to the incident during last year’s awards show at the 2023 Oscar Nominees Luncheon while extensively addressing “their exciting vision” for the show’s 95th iteration.
“As you may recall, we experienced an unprecedented event at Oscars“, Yang said. “What happened on stage was completely unacceptable and the organization’s response was inadequate. We have learned from this that the Academy must be fully transparent and accountable in our actions and especially in times of crisis.
“We must act quickly, compassionately and decisively for ourselves and for our industry. You should and can expect nothing less from us in the future,” she added. “We are committed to maintaining the highest standards while creating the changes we want to see in our industry.”
At the 2022 ceremony, ahead of his best Oscar win, Smith took the stage at the Dolby Theater and rock slapped comedian after making an unscripted joke about Pinkett Smith’s baldness during an award show. Smith has since issued several apologiesin addition to resignation from the Academy, who previously said Smith was asked to leave the ceremony but declined. What ensued was several weeks of deliberation on how to approach Smith’s behavior, which led to the actor being banned to appear at their events for 10 years.
“Violence in all its forms is toxic and destructive. My behavior at the Oscars last night was unacceptable and inexcusable,” Smith wrote in an Instagram post at the time. “I deeply regret that my behavior tainted what has been an otherwise magnificent journey for all of us.”
The Academy has previously addressed Smith’s behavior, at one point admitting that “we could have handled the situation differently.” They too called Smith’s actions “unacceptable and prejudicial behavior” and, again, noted that they did not “adequately deal with the situation in the room”.
“It 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,” said he concluded.
The rest of Yang’s speech saw the AMPAS president explain how the “collaborative nature of filmmaking” will be the focus of this year’s ceremony.
“The Academy aims to be an engine of unity for our artists and for the public,” she said. “I urge all of us to focus our efforts on building the extraordinary and brilliant community we inhabit. I want to remind us of the deep respect and love we have for our colleagues and for the art of filmmaking. invites us to grow together because the collective power of this room and this industry is unstoppable.