BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (Reuters) – Hollywood’s film academy did not adequately respond to Will Smith’s slap of Chris Rock at the Academy Awards last March, the organization’s president said on Monday at a gathering of this year’s Oscar nominees.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences was criticized for allowing Smith to remain in his seat, and accept the best actor trophy, after he assaulted Rock on stage.
“What happened on stage was totally unacceptable,” academy president Janet Yang said at the annual Oscar nominees’ luncheon in Beverly Hills. “And the response from the organization was inadequate.
“We learned from this that the academy must be fully transparent and accountable in our actions, and particularly in times of crisis,” she added.
Smith resigned from the academy after the incident, and the academy banned him from attending the Oscars for 10 years. He remains eligible to be nominated for and win Academy Awards.
At Tuesday’s lunch, nominees including Tom Cruise, Steven Spielberg, Michelle Yeoh and Angela Bassett schmoozed and posed for a group photo.
Winners will be announced at a ceremony televised live on Walt Disney Co’s ABC on March 12.
(Reporting by Lisa Richwine; Editing by Leslie Adler)