2022 Best Actor Academy Award winner Will Smith has been banned from the Oscars and other Academy events for 10 years, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences have confirmed.
In a statement released Friday 8th April 2022, the Academy described Smith’s actions at their 94th Academy Awards as “unacceptable and harmful”, and stated that his ban of 10 years from the statement’s date “is a step toward a larger goal of protecting the safety of our performers and guests, and restoring trust in the Academy”.
At the 94th Oscars ceremony, aired Sunday 27th March 2022, Will Smith physically assaulted guest presenter Chris Rock after taking objection to a joke about his wife’s (Jada Pinkett Smith’s) shaved head. After slapping his fellow actor across the face, Smith was recorded shouting “keep my wife’s name out your fucking mouth”. Smith would later be rewarded the Oscar for Actor in a Leading Role for his performance in Venus and Serena Williams biopic King Richard.
In the days following the 2022 Oscars ceremony, Will Smith resigned from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, writing in a statement that his actions were “shocking, painful, and inexcusable”. He also publicly apologised to Chris Rock via a statement on Instagram:
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Chris Rock has yet to make a statement about his experience of the events, but included in the Academy’s statement was an expression of gratitude to the actor “for maintaining his composure under extraordinary circumstances”. You can read the full statement below.
“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 behavior we saw Mr. Smith exhibit on stage.
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.
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 behavior 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.
Featured image: Reuters