Will Smith banned from Academy events for 10 years after Oscars Chris Rock slap

8 April 2022, 20:01 | Updated: 9 April 2022, 00:03

Will Smith slapped Chris Rock after he made a joke about his wife's alopecia.
Will Smith slapped Chris Rock after he made a joke about his wife's alopecia. Picture: Getty/Alamy

By Sophie Barnett

Will Smith has been banned from attending any Academy events for 10 years after he slapped Chris Rock, Oscars organisers have said.

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In a statement, the organisers said the infamous slap "overshadowed" what was meant to be "a celebration of the many individuals in our community who did incredible work this past year", and apologised for not "adequately" addressing it initially.

"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 behaviour we saw Mr. Smith exhibit on stage," they said.

"During our telecast, we did not adequately address the situation in the room. 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.

Read more: Will Smith resigns from Oscars Academy and admits the 'list of those I have hurt is long'

Read more: Chris Rock breaks silence on Will Smith slap at first show since Oscars spat

"Today, the Board of Governors convened a meeting to discuss how best to respond to Will Smith’s actions at the Oscars, in addition to accepting his resignation. 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.

"We want to express our deep 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.

"This action we are taking today in response to Will Smith’s behaviour 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."

Read more: Will Smith gets jiggy with it at Oscars party hours after slapping Chris Rock

Read more: 'I was out of line': Will Smith apologises to Chris Rock for 'embarrassing' Oscars slap

In a statement on Friday afternoon after the decision was reached, Smith said: "I accept and respect the Academy’s decision."

He had already resigned from the Academy last Friday, taking the decision out of their hands to rescind his membership as it did with Harvey Weinstein.

Academy president David Rubin acknowledged the organisation "fell short" in its response to the incident and hoped the decision would "begin a time of healing and restoration for all involved and impacted".

The announcement means Smith will be 63 before he can attend the Oscars, any Academy film screenings or the Governors Awards Ceremony.

The measures come in response to Smith's behaviour at the ceremony on March 27, during which he took to the stage and slapped Chris Rock.

Rock had made a hair loss joke about Jada Pinkett-Smith, the wife of the King Richard star, who has alopecia.

The incident stunned audiences and overshadowed the world famous event, with many calling for the 53-year-old to be stripped of his award.

Smith apologised to The Academy and his fellow nominees during his acceptance speech following his win, and later to Rock on social media.

He said he was "out of line and wrong", adding "violence in all its forms is poisonous and destructive".

The Academy condemned the attack, saying Smith's actions were "a deeply shocking, traumatic event to witness in-person and on television" and apologised to Rock, saying they could have "done more".