Will Smith Banned From Oscars For 10 Years After Chris Rock Slap
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Will Smith will not be allowed to attend the Oscars for 10 years after slapping comedian Chris Rock on stage at this year's ceremony.
Following a meeting earlier today (8 April), the Academy Board of Governors, which manages the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, gave its verdict on what repercussions Smith should face for his controversial actions.
The meeting was hastily moved up from its original 18 April date after Smith voluntarily resigned his membership of the Academy in the wake of the incident, with Academy President David Rubin writing in a letter to Board members that 'it is in the best interest of all involved for this to be handled in a timely fashion'.
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.
However, the latest decision means the King Richard star will no longer be able to do so for the next decade.
Academy president David Rubin and chief executive Dawn Hudson said in a statement: "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."
In a statement, Smith said, "I accept and respect the Academy's decision."
As you'll be aware unless you've recently returned from Antarctica, this whole saga kicked off just under a fortnight ago when Will Smith responded poorly to a joke Chris Rock made about his wife, Jada, while presenting on stage at the Oscars ceremony.
Following the joke, Smith strode onto the stage and smacked Rock across the face, before returning to his seat and warning the comedian to 'keep my wife's name out [of] your f***ing mouth'.
Over the past few days, the Academy has been scrambling to figure out a response to the incident, as public and celebrity opinion turned firmly away from Smith, with several of his Hollywood peers condemning his actions and calling for him to face consequences.
One of those consequences set to have been considered was his potential expulsion from the Academy, however Smith jumped before he was pushed last week, when he announced in a statement that he was resigning his membership.
The Board was expected to consider a range of other options during today's meeting, including barring Smith from attending future ceremonies, making him ineligible for nominations, or taking away his Oscar, which he won just minutes after the incident for his role in King Richard.
Some experts had said that it was unlikely that Smith would have his Oscar revoked, as the Academy had not taken similar steps when dealing with other members expelled from the organisation for serious sexual offences, including Harvey Weinstein and Roman Polanski.
Nevertheless, the Academy's 9,000 members, who did not get a vote on the decision, were said to be 'split down the middle' over how severely Smith should be punished for his violent reaction.