Will Smith banned from Academy events, programs for 10 years for slapping Chris Rock at Oscars

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Friday, April 8, 2022
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The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has decided Will Smith will be banned from attending any Academy events or programs, including future Oscars, for 10 years.

LOS ANGELES -- The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has decided that Will Smith will be banned from attending any Academy events or programs, including future Oscars, for a period of 10 years.

The Academy's Board of Governors made the decision Friday, nearly two weeks after Smith slapped Chris Rock on stage at the Oscars.

"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. "...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 ban takes effect on April 8, 2022.

"I will accept and respect the Academy's decision," Smith said in a brief statement issued to CNN.

After the slap that was witnessed around the world, Smith sat back down and yelled obscenities at Rock from his seat. Since that night, Smith has issued a series of apologies and resigned from the Academy.

WATCH: Will Smith resigns from Academy over Chris Rock slap. Here's what that means

The academy also apologized for its handling of the situation and 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.

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 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.

RELATED | Will Smith slaps Chris Rock at Oscars after joke at wife Jada Pinkett Smith's expense, apologizes

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

The academy's statement did not address whether Smith could be nominated for Oscars during his 10-year ban. Nor did it take any action to revoke Smith's Academy Award.

Hollywood insiders had speculated that Smith's punishment could include a ban on future nominations.

"They could create a ban for him being nominated which would ostensibly have a trickle-down effect on his career because any Oscar film or would-be Oscar film wouldn't probably think twice... about casting him because it would cast a pall on the production," said IndieWire Editor-in-Chief Dana Harris-Bridson.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.