Actor Will Smith was banned from Oscars and other events organised by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences for 10 years on Friday, two weeks after he slapped comedian Chris Rock on stage at the awards ceremony, reported The Guardian.
The Academy, however, did not revoke the Oscar award won by Smith this year or impose any ban on him for future nominations, reported AFP.
At the Oscars ceremony held on March 27, Smith had smacked Rock for joking that his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, was apt for the next GI Jane movie – a seeming reference to her tonsured head. She had shaved her head in 2021 following a diagnosis of alopecia, a condition that leads to hair loss.
A few minutes later as he accepted his Oscar award, Smith had apologised to the Academy, but he did not mention Rock. A day later, he apologised to Rock, saying: “I was out of line and I was wrong.”
On April 1, Smith resigned from the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences.
Responding to the ten-year ban, Smith said, “I accept and respect the Academy’s decision,” reported PEOPLE.
The Academy’s decision on Friday came after its president, David Rubin, expedited a board meeting scheduled for April 18 meant to take action against Smith. In a letter, Rubin said that a 15-day notice is considered for suspending membership, according to the Academy’s rules, but it did not apply in the current case as Smith has resigned.
“The 94th Oscars were meant to be a celebration of the many individuals in our community who did incredible work this past year,” the letter said. “However, those moments were overshadowed by the unacceptable and harmful behavior we saw Mr Smith exhibit on stage.”
The Academy also apologised for its handling of the situation.
“During our telecast, we did not adequately address the situation in the room,” it said. “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.”
In a statement released following his resignation from the Academy, Smith had said that will accept any “consequences the Board [of the Academy] deems appropriate”. He had said that his actions were “shocking, painful and inexcusable”.