Motion Picture Academy Bans Will Smith from Oscars for 10 Years

City News Service

LOS ANGELES (CNS) – Actor Will Smith was banned today from attending
any Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences events — including the Academy
Awards — for 10 years in response to his on-stage smack of comedian Chris Rock
during this year’s Oscar ceremony.

Smith won this year’s best-actor Oscar for his work in “King
Richard,” but the evening was marred when he assaulted Rock on stage at the
Dolby Theatre during the ceremony, in response to the comedian making a joke
about Smith’s wife, actress Jada Pinkett Smith.

The Academy’s Board of Governors had been considering punishing Smith
by either suspending his membership in the Academy or expelling him from the
organization. But Smith took those options off the table last week by resigning
from the group.

The Academy board met Friday to consider alternative actions, and
emerged with the 10-year ban.

“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,” Academy
President David Rubin and CEO Dawn Hudson said in a joint statement. “

Rubin and Hudson also apologized in their statement for their response
to the altercation on Oscar night.

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

Critics have lashed out at the Academy for allowing Smith to remain in
the Dolby Theatre after attacking Rock during the March 27 event, and
allowing him to take the stage a short time later to accept the best-actor
Oscar and give a drawn-out acceptance speech and tearful apology for his
actions.

Rock was on stage at the Dolby Theatre to present an Oscar when he
made a joke referencing Jada Pinkett Smith’s bald head. Pinkett Smith suffers
from the hair-loss condition alopecia.

Will Smith walked onto the stage and smacked Rock in the face, then
returned to his seat and twice shouted at Rock to “keep my wife’s name out of
your (expletive) mouth.”

In announcing his resignation from the Academy last week, Smith said
he was “heartbroken” by his actions and said he will “fully accept any and
all consequences for my conduct.”

“My actions at the 94th Academy Awards presentation were shocking,
painful and inexcusable,” he said. “The list of those I have hurt is long and
includes Chris, his family, many of my dear friends and loved ones, all those
in attendance and global audiences at home.

“I betrayed the trust of the Academy. I deprived other nominees and
winners of their opportunity to celebrate and be celebrated for their
extraordinary work. I am heartbroken. I want to put the focus back on those who
deserve attention for their achievements and allow the Academy to get back to
the incredible work it does to support creativity and artistry in film.

“So, I am resigning from membership in the Academy of Motion Picture
Arts and Science, and will accept any further consequences the board deems
appropriate. Change takes time and I am committed to doing the work to ensure
that I never again allow violence to overtake reason.”

In their joint statement Friday, Rubin and Hudson again blasted
Smith’s behavior, saying the 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
behaviors we saw Mr. Smith exhibit on stage.”

They also gave kudos to 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,” they wrote. “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.”

Copyright 2022, City News Service, Inc.

CNS-04-08-2022 12:27

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