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Oscars president admits response to Will Smith-Chris Rock slapping incident was ‘insufficient’

The current president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), Janet Yang, has acknowledged the failure of the organization in handling the issue of Will Smith slapping Chris Rock during last year’s Academy Awards night.

At the beginning of the 2023 Oscar Nominees Luncheon on Monday, Yang admitted that they failed to control the said ‘crisis’ as the organization should act ‘swiftly’, ‘compassionately’, and ‘decisively’ in every situation.

The Will Smith-Chris Rock ‘slapping’ issue happened during the 94th ceremony of the said awarding event in March 2022. The ‘Pursuit of Happiness’ star stepped onstage and gave the ‘Amsterdam’ actor a slap in the face during the latter’s presentation for Best Documentary Feature. Rock threw a joke about Smith’s wife Jada Pinkett Smith’s shaved head due to alopecia areata, causing the ‘The Pursuit of Happyness’ alum to hit the comedian. Smith then returned to his seat and screamed, “Keep my wife’s name out of your f***ing mouth!”, at Rock, twice.

The Academy revealed that Smith was asked to leave the event, but he refused to do so. Shortly after the incident, Smith bagged the Oscar’s Best Actor Award for his performance in the ‘King Richard’ film. He ended his speech by saying that he hopes the academy will still invite him back.

The actor also apologized for what he did to the comedian. He said that he was ‘deeply remorseful’ and that his behavior was ‘unacceptable’ and ‘inexcusable’. Although Rock didn’t press charges against Smith, the Academy decided to ban the latter from attending the Oscars for the next decade and confirmed that they had revoked his AMPAS membership.

Yang guaranteed that the organization had already learned from that mistake, as they intend to be more ‘transparent’ and ‘accountable’ with their actions and responses in the future.

The 95th Academy Awards will take place at the Dolby Theatre on March 13.

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