Will Smith was banned from attending the Oscars for ten years by Hollywood’s film academy effective Friday, April 8, after the best actor winner hit presenter Chris Rock on stage at the Academy Awards ceremony 12 days ago.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ board of governors adopted the step during a meeting held one week after Smith unilaterally resigned from the organization following his outburst at the live, broadcast event.
“The 94th Oscars were meant to be a celebration of the many individuals in our community who did incredible work this past year,” academy President David Rubin and Chief Executive Dawn Hudson said in a statement.
“However, those moments were overshadowed by the unacceptable and harmful behavior we saw Mr. Smith exhibit on stage.”
“I accept and respect the Academy’s decision,” Smith said in a statement.
The actor has previously apologized to Rock, the Oscars producers, nominees, and viewers in comments. However, in addition to Oscars, the film industry’s most coveted prizes, Smith has also been barred from all other academy events and programs, in person or digitally, for ten years,
The group in spite did not explicitly state that he would be ineligible for Oscar nominations during that time. Smith’s next film, the action thriller “Emancipation,” about a man who flees slavery, was supposed to come out later this year.
Rock’s joke about Pinkett Smith was a reference to Demi Moore’s shorn head in the 1997 picture “G.I. Jane.” It’s unknown whether Rock is aware that she suffers from a hair-loss problem.
The academy’s decision to bar Smith from the ceremony at the Dolby Theatre was “too little, too late,” according to Dana Harris-Bridson, editor-in-chief of online entertainment publication IndieWire.
The academy had little options after the fact, she argued, especially since Smith resigned before his membership in the organization could be canceled.
The academy said it had requested Smith to leave shortly after the incident, but the facts of that statement have been challenged, and the actor stayed for the duration of the ceremony.
The president and CEO of the academy conveyed their gratitude to “Mr. Rock for maintaining his composure under extraordinary circumstances.
“We also want to thank our hosts, nominees, presenters and winners for their poise and grace during our telecast,” they said.
“We also hope this can begin a time of healing and restoration for all involved and impacted.”