Will Smith banned from Oscars for 10 years for punching Chris Rock

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Andrew Dalton, The Associated Press

Published Friday, April 8, 2022 3:05 PM EDT

Last updated on Friday, April 8, 2022 4:21 PM EDT

LOS ANGELES (AP) – The Academy of Films on Friday banned Will Smith from attending the Oscars or any other academy event for 10 years after his blow to Chris Rock at the Academy Awards.

The move comes after a meeting of the academy’s board of directors to discuss a response to Smith’s actions. It is unclear whether the ban will also apply to future nominations.

“The 94th Oscars were intended to be a celebration of the many individuals in our community who have done an incredible job over the past year; however, those moments were overshadowed by the unacceptable and harmful behavior we saw Mr. Smith display 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 in the run-up to the meeting, calling his actions “shocking, painful and unforgivable.”

The academy also apologized for the way they handled the situation and allowed Smith to stay and receive his Best Actor award for ‘King Richard’.

“During our broadcast, we did not adequately address the situation in the room. We are sorry for this,” 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 came up 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 declined.

But it’s 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 Theater. The Los Angeles Times reported on Thursday that Oscar producer Will Packer told Smith, “Officially, we don’t want you to leave. We want you to stay.”

The ban means Smith won’t be presenting any of the big prizes at next year’s Oscars, as is tradition for the best actor winner.

The academy also expressed “deep gratitude to Mr. Rock for maintaining his composure under extraordinary circumstances in its statement on Friday.”

The academy’s statement did not address the question of whether Smith could be nominated for Oscars during his 10-year suspension. It has also taken no action to revoke Smith’s Academy Award.

The academy has not revoked Oscars from suspended members Harvey Weinstein or Roman Polanski.

With his resignation last week, Smith lost the ability to vote for nominees and winners.

During the Academy Awards on March 27, Rock came out to present the Best Documentary Oscar and made fun of several in attendance, including Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith.

‘Jada, I love you. ‘GI Jane 2,’ can’t wait to see it,’ said Rock.

Pinkett Smith, who has spoken publicly about her hair loss, alopecia, had a clean-shaven head similar to that of Demi Moore in the 1997 film.

Smith strode from his front row to the stage and punched Rock, stunning the comedian, theater audience, and viewers at home.

Will Smith

Many thought it was a planned prank set up by the show or the men themselves, but the gravity of the situation kicked in after Smith returned to his seat and twice angrily yelled at Rock to “get my wife’s name out of you ( expletive) to shut up. †

Rock said he had no interest in pursuing the charges when police asked him backstage.

Smith took the stage less than an hour later to receive his Oscar, tearfully apologizing to the academy, but mostly omitting Rock. He compared himself to Richard Williams, the man he played in ‘King Richard’, ‘a fierce defender of his family’.

Later that night, Smith danced with his trophy and his family and rapped along to his own songs in honor of his victory at the Vanity Fair post-Oscars party.

Rock only briefly discussed the attack publicly, saying at a comedy concert in Boston this week that he was still “a little bit processing what happened.”

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