Will Smith has been banned from the Oscars for ten years after the American actor slapped comedian Chris Rock on stage at the awards show in late March.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences announced the 10-year ban in a statement released on Friday, writing “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.”
“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,” the statement continued.
“I accept and respect the Academy’s decision,” Smith stated to CNN. Even with the ban in place, Smith can still be nominated for and even win an Oscar in the future, but he cannot attend the event.
Will Smith caused a stir at Oscars
Smith hit Rock in the face on stage at the Oscars on Sunday evening after the comic made a joke about the actor’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith.
Referring to Pinkett Smith’s shaved hairdo caused by alopecia, an autoimmune disorder that leads to hair loss, Rock said: “Jada, can’t wait for GI Jane 2.”
Smith walked up on stage and appeared to strike Rock before returning to his seat and shouting: “Keep my wife’s name out of your…mouth.”
Smith later apologized in a tearful best actor acceptance speech for his role as Richard Williams, the father of Venus and Serena Williams in the film King Richard.
“I want to apologize to the Academy. I want to apologize to all my fellow nominees,” Smith said after winning the first Oscar of his career for playing the father of tennis legends Venus and Serena Williams in King Richard.
According to tradition, the previous year’s best actor presents the best actress award, so it seems that next year the tradition will be broken as Smith will not be permitted to attend the awards show.
The Academy decided to ban Smith after a contentious meeting of its Board of Governors took place earlier on Friday. Smith had previously announced that he would resign from the Academy in the wake of the event.
Rock, after being slapped, seemed stunned. He has since refrained from speaking openly about the incident. Smith apologized to the comedian on social media shortly after the awards show.
“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,” the Academy’s statement read.
Rock reportedly declined to press charges against Smith after the incident in late March.