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Academy Member Says Will Smith’s 10-Year Ban From The Oscars Isn’t Good Enough

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Academy Member Says Will Smith’s 10-Year Ban From The Oscars Isn’t Good Enough

A member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has spoken out against the punishment handed to Will Smith.

Over the weekend, the King Richard star found out he had been banned from the Academy Awards for a decade.

Although Smith's resignation meant he’d no longer be a voting member of the Academy, he could have been invited to future ceremonies and be nominated for future consideration. 

Smith has been barred from the Oscars for 10 years. Credit: ABC
Smith has been barred from the Oscars for 10 years. Credit: ABC
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However, the latest decision means Smith will no longer be able to do so for the next decade.

The move came in the wake of him slapping Chris Rock at the 94th Academy Awards a few weeks ago.

While many would think a decade-long ban is a decent punishment, one member of the Academy says it's nowhere near good enough.

Actor Harry Lennix said it was like 'an extended time out for a playground bully' and called on Smith to return his Oscar.

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In an op-ed for Variety, Lennix said: “It’s a toothless penalty that lays bare the shallowness of Hollywood morals.

"At this point, the only person who can redeem the integrity of the Oscars is Smith himself. He needs to come to grips with the gravity of the offense he committed: slapping Rock, live on March 27 in front of millions on the Academy Awards stage.

"Smith needs to express-mail his golden trophy back to the Academy and publicly state something to the effect of: 'Out of respect for the 94 years of honor conferred upon this award, I do not in good conscience feel worthy of being its custodian'."

Lennix added that Smith's actions at the Oscars 'brutality stripped the entire evening of its prestige'.

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He also ripped into the King Richard star for thanking God in his acceptance speech.

Will Smith with his Oscar (Alamy)
Will Smith with his Oscar (Alamy)

"Of the many unsettling things said in the aftermath of the slap, the most galling to me was his reference to the influence of a higher power during his surreal acceptance speech," he said in his assessment.

"This attempt to explain his actions added to the travesty of this ethical catastrophe. In couching his acceptance speech as somehow submitting to the will of God, Smith abdicated personal accountability."

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Academy President David Rubin and Chief Executive Dawn Hudson announced the decade-long ban over the weekend.

The pair released a statement saying: "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."

Smith has responded to the decision and simply said he 'accepts and respects the Academy's decision'.

Featured Image Credit: AMPAS/ZUMA Press Wire Service/ZUMAPRESS.com. Alamy

Topics: Will Smith, Oscars, Celebrity

Stewart Perrie
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