A ban on Will Smith from attending the Oscars for the next 10 years came on Friday, two weeks after the actor stunned the world by storming on stage to slap comedian Chris Rock mid-ceremony. He will also not be permitted to attend any other events held by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences over the next decade.
The decision, set out in a letter from Academy chiefs, did not revoke the best actor award Smith won last month for King Richard, nor did it mention any ban on future Oscar nominations.
“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,” wrote president David Rubin and CEO Dawn Hudson.
Academy governors convened on Friday morning to discuss actions against Smith, with board members Steven Spielberg and Whoopi Goldberg among those invited to rule on the actor’s face.
The meeting of top brass from Hollywood’s leading industry body was originally set to discuss suspending or expelling Smith. However, he preemptively resigned from the group. Actors do not need to be members of the Academy to receive nominations, although each year’s Oscar nominees and winners are voted for by members of the group.
Smith’s actions during a live global broadcast stunned audiences and cast a shadow over both the night’s big winners and the Tinseltown showcase event itself.
‘Unacceptable and harmful behavior ‘
“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,” said the Academy letter.
“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,” it added.
During the live Oscars telecast, Smith strode up to the stage after Rock made a joke about the appearance of Smith’s wife, then smacked the comedian’s face. As Smith accepted the Best Actor trophy for his role in “King Richard” less than an hour later, he made a tearful speech on stage.
Los Angeles police were on-site and ready for arresting Smith at the Academy Awards on the day of the incident for slapping presenter Rock. Producer Will Packer said Rock, however, declined to press charges. Hence, the authorities did not take action.
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