Will Smith cannot attend the Academy Awards for the next 10 years, as a result of his slapping comedian Chris Rock on stage during the recent Oscar ceremony, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences announced in a statement — according to a report by CNN.
“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.
The board of governors took the decision at a meeting held earlier in the day in Los Angeles. The meeting, initially scheduled for 18 April, was expedited after Smith announced his resignation from the Academy last week.
Smith promptly responded with a statement on his ban from the Oscars for the next decade. “I accept and respect the academy’s decision,” the actor said.
The decision follows “tons of debate” on what the consequences of his on-stage slap should be, a board member said.
The academy’s letter read: “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.”
“During our telecast, we did not adequately address the situation in the room,” the letter went on to state. “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.”
The Board of Governors said in a previous statement that they wanted the matter to be “handled in a timely fashion.”
Smith’s resignation means that he is no longer part of the academy’s voting body, but it does not prevent the Oscar winner from being nominated in the future, a source said.
Typically, the previous year’s best actor winner presents the current year’s best actress award (and the reigning best actress presents to the best actor trophy). Now that Smith has been banned, the Oscars will have to break the tradition.
Incident involving Smith
Smith had hit Rock when the comedian was on stage presenting at the Academy Awards on 27 March after Rock had made a joke about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith’s, close-cropped hair.
Pinkett Smith suffers from hair loss due to alopecia but, rather than finding the joke crude and insulting, Smith was first seen laughing at Rock’s jibe. Then the footage showed Jada with a glum face, perhaps disapproving of the joke and the laugh. Smith then walks up to the dais and slaps Rock.
Rock has not spoken in depth publicly about the incident.
Days after the slapgate, 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.”
Smith publicly apologised to Rock a day after the incident via social media.
Smith also reached out the next morning to the show’s producer, Will Packer, apologised 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.
In its letter, the academy expressed “deep gratitude to Mr. Rock for maintaining his composure under extraordinary circumstances.”
“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,” the letter concluded. “We also hope this can begin a time of healing and restoration for all involved and impacted.”