Will Smith will not be allowed to attend the Academy Awards for the next 10 years, following the unfortunate incident that involved him slapping comedian and host Chris Rock on stage during this year’s ceremony.
Actor Will Smith has been banned from attending the Academy Awards ceremony for the next 10 years, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences announced in its latest statement on Friday, reports CNN. The Academy's move comes a little over a week of his slapping comedian Chris Rock on stage during this year’s Oscar ceremony. "The Board has decided, for a period of 10 years from April 8, 2022, Mr. Smith shall not be permitted to attend any Academy events or programs, in person or virtually, including but not limited to the Academy Awards,” Academy President David Rubin and CEO Dawn Hudson said in a statement on Friday.
Will Smith will not be allowed to attend the Academy Awards for the next 10 years, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences says https://t.co/yzBbpKHg6N— CNN Breaking News (@cnnbrk) April 8, 2022
The decision was arrived after a Board of Governors meeting held in Los Angeles. The meeting that had been initially scheduled for April 18, was expedited after Smith announced his resignation from the Academy last week, adds the CNN report. "The 94th Oscars were meant to be a celebration of the many individuals in our community who did incredible work this past year; however, those moments were overshadowed by the unacceptable and harmful behavior we saw Mr. Smith exhibit on stage," the Academy added. The 53-year-old actor responding to the ban said, "I accept and respect the Academy's decision," in a statement obtained by PEOPLE.
Rubin and Hudson further added, "During our telecast, we did not adequately address the situation in the room. For this, we are sorry. This 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." They also went on to address Rock, 57, and the other hosts of the evening Amy Schumer, Wanda Sykes and Regina Hall. "We want to express our deep gratitude to Mr. Rock for maintaining his composure under extraordinary circumstances. We also want to thank our hosts, nominees, presenters and winners for their poise and grace during our telecast," they added.
"This action we are taking today in response to Will Smith's behavior is a step toward a larger goal of protecting the safety of our performers and guests, and restoring trust in the Academy. We also hope this can begin a time of healing and restoration for all involved and impacted," they explained. It is worth mentioning that despite the ban Smith will retain the Oscar that he won and remains eligible for future Oscar nominations and wins.
For the uninitiated, the Pursuit of Happiness actor slapped Rock as the latter was hosting the Academy Awards on March 27. Smith's response came after Rock had made a joke about his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith’s, close-cropped hair. Pinkett Smith suffers from hair loss due to alopecia, a condition she's spoken about quite openly in the recent past. Smith publicly apologized to Rock the day after the incident via social media.
Smith also reached out the next morning to the show’s producer, Will Packer, apologized and expressed his embarrassment, the producer told “Good Morning America.” During the interview with “GMA,” Packer said officers from the Los Angeles Police Department were prepared to arrest Smith for battery, but Rock said he didn’t want that.
Rock, however, has not adressed in depth publicly about the incident.
Days after it occurred, Rock appeared at a comedy show in Boston as part of his “Ego Death Tour” and said “I don’t have a bunch of s*** about what happened, so if you came to hear that, I had like a whole show I wrote before this weekend. And I’m still kind of processing what happened, so at some point I’ll talk about that s***. And it’ll be serious and it’ll be funny, but right now I’m going to tell some jokes.”
it's crazy how they're doing more to punish will smith than they did to any hollywood predator https://t.co/twms3JNxkT— inabber 🦦 (@iNabber69) April 8, 2022
However, not everyone is happy with the Academy's decision of banning Smith, citing that he's being targetted unfairly because of being a Black man. “I am certain that if one white man slapped another during the Oscars, the world would be buzzing about it, too. But the buzz would be different – it wouldn’t be racialized. When white men act badly, their actions aren’t attributed to their race. Because Will Smith and Chris Rock are both Black men, so much of the conversation about their altercation is being characterized as Black male violence, which is unfair," said Shaun Harper, a professor at the University of Southern California, to USA Today. The Guardian pointed this out in a comprehensive article. Writing for The Guardian, Tayo Bero wrote, "Anyone who has been following these shows can see that Smith is being held up to much stricter standards than white men who have behaved just as badly or even worse in those settings. In 1973, John Wayne had to be restrained by six security guards when he tried to rush the stage and attack the Native American actor and activist Sacheen Littlefeather. Littlefeather was on stage to accept the best actor award on behalf of Marlon Brando, who was boycotting the awards in protest at Hollywood’s depictions of Native Americans." They added, "Wayne got to keep his awards after the incident, but pending a review, Smith could very well have his historic best actor win revoked. Mind you, this is the same academy that gave Roman Polanski an award in absentia after he pleaded guilty to a charge of unlawful sex with a minor and fled the country before he could be sentenced. The double standard is glaring."