Will Smith gets 10-year Oscars ban over Chris Rock slap
The repercussions of Will Smith slapping Chris Rock on stage during the Oscars ceremony do not seem to be ending any time soon.
The motion picture academy banned Will Smith on Friday from attending the Oscars or any other academy event for 10 years following his slap at Chris Rock at the Academy Awards.
The move comes after the academy's Board of Governors discussed a response to the actor's actions.
“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 said in a statement.
“I accept and respect the Academy’s decision,” Smith said in response. He pre-emptively resigned from the academy last week during the run-up to the meeting, calling his actions “shocking, painful, and inexcusable.”
However, Smith will keep the Oscar he won and will remain eligible for nomination and winning during the 10-year ban, only he can't show up to accept them.
The academy also apologized for its handling of the situation after allowing Smith to stay and accept his best actor award for “King Richard".
“During our telecast, we did not adequately address the situation in the room. For this, we are sorry,” the academy said. “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.”
In a statement in the days following the Oscars, the academy said Smith was asked to leave the ceremony but refused.
However, it is not clear how the message was delivered to Smith or what form it took, and several media outlets reported that he was never formally told to leave the Dolby Theatre. The Los Angeles Times reported in a story Thursday that Oscars producer Will Packer told Smith, “Officially, we don’t want you to leave. We want you to stay.”
The ban means Smith will not be presenting one of the major awards at next year’s Oscars, as is tradition for the best actor winner.
The academy in its Friday statement also expressed “deep gratitude to Mr. Rock for maintaining his composure under extraordinary circumstances.”
With his resignation last week, Smith lost the ability to vote for nominees and winners. Smith has been nominated for four Oscars, winning once.
What happened at the Oscars?
At the March 27 Academy Awards, Rock came out to present the best documentary award and made jokes about several attendees, including Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith.
“Jada, I love you. ‘G.I. Jane 2,’ can’t wait to see it,” Rock said.
Pinkett Smith, who has spoken publicly about her hair loss condition, alopecia, had a closely shaved head similar to that of Demi Moore in the 1997 movie.
In response, Smith strode from his front-row seat onto the stage and slapped Rock.
Many assumed it was a set-up by the show or the men themselves, but the gravity of the situation became clear when Smith returned to his seat and angrily yelled at Rock to "get my wife's name out of your (expletive) mouth."
Rock said he had no interest in pursuing charges when asked by police backstage.
Smith returned to the stage less than an hour later to accept his Oscar, apologizing tearfully to the Academy but avoiding any mention of Rock. He compared himself to Richard Williams, the character he played in "King Richard", whom he described as "a ferocious defender of his family."