Will Smith has been banned from attending the Oscars and any other academy programs and events for the next 10 years for slapping Chris Rock onstage, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences said Friday.
"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," the academy's president, David Rubin, and its CEO, Dawn Hudson, said in a statement.
Calling Smith's actions "unacceptable and harmful," they thanked Rock for keeping his composure "under extraordinary circumstances." Rubin and Hudson also acknowledged that they did not "adequately address" the incident during the telecast, saying they were "unprepared for the unprecedented."
"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," they said. "We also hope this can begin a time of healing and restoration for all involved and impacted."
In a statement to BuzzFeed News provided by his publicist, Smith said he accepted and respected the academy's decision.
What was supposed to be a triumphant night for Smith — who won Best Actor — took a sharp turn when Rock, who was cracking a few off-the-cuff jokes onstage while presenting the award for Best Documentary, joked about Jada Pinkett Smith's bald head. Pinkett Smith has alopecia and has spoken openly about her struggles with her hair. Smith then walked up to Rock and slapped him across the face, stunning the audience and the comedian.
And the fallout for Smith and the academy has been messy. Many criticized the academy for how it responded in the immediate aftermath. Though it initially said that Smith refused to leave the ceremony when he was asked to, reports later disputed that the actor was asked to formally leave. Oscars producer Will Packer also said the academy had planned physically remove Smith from the ceremony until Packer stepped in.
Smith resigned from the academy last Friday and said he would accept any other disciplinary actions that the academy decides to take against him.
"The list of those I have hurt is long and includes Chris, his family, many of my dear friends and loved ones, all those in attendance, and global audiences at home,” he said in a statement obtained by Variety. "I betrayed the trust of the Academy. I deprived other nominees and winners of their opportunity to celebrate and be celebrated for their extraordinary work. I am heartbroken."
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