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

Whoopi Goldberg discusses Will Smith and Chris Rock incident

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Will Smith has been banned from the Oscars and any other event hosted by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for the next ten years. The ruling comes after he slapped comedian Chris Rock on stage at the 2022 ceremony.

Will walked up on stage and slapped Chris after the comic made a joke about his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, earlier this month. 

Later on in the evening, he won Best Actor for his role in King Richard.

During his acceptance speech, he apologised to the event organisers and to Richard Williams, who he played in the film, and later he also apologised to Chris in a grovelling statement.

But the Academy met today to decide his fate after the incident sparked outrage. 

In an open letter to the Academy “family”, David Rubin, President, and Dawn Hudson, CEO, explained the reasoning behind their decision.

They said the 94th Oscars ceremony was “meant to be a celebration of the many individuals who did incredible work this past year”.

“However,” they added, “Those moments were overshadowed by the unacceptable and harmful behaviour we saw Mr Smith exhibit on stage”. 

The duo also apologised for failing to deal with the incident properly at the time.

“During our telecast, we did not adequately address the situation in the room,” they wrote.

“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.”

The letter also praised Chris for maintaining his composure afterwards, remaining on stage and continuing to present the award, though he looked to be in shock.

“We want to express our deep gratitude to Mr. Rock for maintaining his composure under extraordinary circumstances,” wrote Rubin and Hudson.

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“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,” the letter concluded. 

Will promptly responded to say he “accepts and respects the Academy’s decision”. 

In an Instagram post after the now-infamous slap, Will said he “deeply regrets” his behaviour and that he’s a “work in progress”. 

He wrote: “Violence in all of its forms is poisonous and destructive.

“My behaviour 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 apologise to you, Chris. I was out of line and I was wrong.”

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