The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has ruled that actor Will Smith — who just won the Best Actor Oscar for his role in King Richard — has been banned from the Academy Awards or any related events for the next 10 years. The ruling was made as a punishment for slapping and then yelling profanities at presenter Chris Rock live on air during the 94th Academy Awards ceremony. However, Smith will not have to return the Oscar that he won and he will be eligible to be nominated again.
The 54-person Academy board met on Friday morning to determine what his fate was. The ruling can not be all that surprising for Smith. Earlier this week, the actor stepped before the story and announced he was resigning as a member of the Academy.
This should put a cap on that saga that started when Rock made a “G.I. Jane” joke about Jada Pinkett Smith, who suffers from alopecia. The joke was told and Pinkett Smith was visibly upset. Smith then walked up to the stage, slapped him, then walked back to his seat. From his seat, Smith started yelling, “Keep my wife’s name out of your fucking mouth!”
About 30 minutes after the incident, Smith won the Oscar for Best Actor for his role as Richard Williams in King Richard. His speech was emotional. Without mentioning the incident directly, Smith spoke about the importance of protecting his family and his “people.” He also apologized to the Academy for the first time.
After the incident, the actor was widely criticized. He then publicly apologized to Rock. In a lengthy statement posted to his Instagram, Smith wrote:
“My behavior at last night’s Academy Awards was unacceptable and inexcusable. Jokes at my expense are a part of the job, but a joke about Jada’s medical condition was too much for me to bear and I reacted emotionally.
I would like to publicly apologize to you, Chris. I was out of line and I was wrong. I am embarrassed and my actions were not indicative of the man I want to be. There is no place for violence in a world of love and kindness.”
There have been conflicting reports that Smith was asked to leave the ceremony. Will Packer, producer of the Oscars, said he told the Academy not to remove Will Smith from the ceremony, because it’s not what Chris Rock wanted.
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