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Will Smith banned from all Academy events for 10 years following Oscars slap

Will Smith banned from all Academy events for 10 years following Oscars slap (Doug Peters/PA)
Will Smith banned from all Academy events for 10 years following Oscars slap (Doug Peters/PA)

Will Smith has been banned from all Academy events or programmes for 10 years following his “unprecedented” behaviour at the 94th Academy Awards.

Academy president David Rubin acknowledged the organisation “fell short” in its response to the incident and hoped the decision would “begin a time of healing and restoration for all involved and impacted”.

The measures come in response to Smith’s now infamous behaviour at the ceremony on March 27, during which he took to the stage and slapped Chris Rock.

The incident occurred after the comedian made a joke about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, and her hair loss as a result of the medical condition alopecia.

Mr Rubin said Smith’s “unacceptable and harmful behaviour” on stage had “overshadowed” the ceremony.

“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,” Rubin said in the statement put out online.

“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.”

Rubin also thanked Rock again for “maintaining his composure under extraordinary circumstances” and other attendees for their “poise and grace”.

“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,” Mr Rubin said.

The 94th Academy Awards – Vanity Fair Party – Los Angeles
Smith slapped Chris Rock onstage at the Oscars after a joke the comedian made about his wife Jada Pinkett Smith (Doug Peters/PA)

“We also hope this can begin a time of healing and restoration for all involved and impacted.”

Responding to the announcement, Smith said he would “accept and respect the Academy’s decision”.

Shortly after the altercation, Smith returned to the stage to collect the gong for best actor for his performance in King Richard, his first Academy award, which he will be allowed to keep.

Accepting the accolade, he gave a tearful speech about the importance of protecting family.

An Academy board meeting to discuss the consequences of the actor’s actions took place on Friday, having been brought forward from its originally scheduled date of April 18.

The meeting was called by Mr Rubin and 65 members of the industry reside on the board, according to the Academy’s official website.

Laura Dern, Whoopi Goldberg and Rita Wilson are listed as governors under the actors branch on the website, with Steven Spielberg, Ava DuVernay and Susanne Bier listed on the director’s branch.

Smith resigned from the Academy last week, saying he “betrayed the trust” of the organisation with his “shocking, painful and inexcusable” behaviour.

Following his resignation, Mr Rubin brought the meeting forward to deal with the matter “in a timely fashion” as suspension or expulsion from the Academy were “no longer a possibility”.

Oscars show-runner Will Packer previously revealed that the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) had been “prepared” to arrest Smith over incident, telling Rock that he had been the victim of “battery”.

The comedian had dismissed the options as he had not wanted to “make a bad situation worse”, Packer told Good Morning America (GMA).

Two days on from the incident, Smith issued a public apology to Rock and the Oscars production team, admitting he reacted “emotionally” to the joke and saying that “violence in all its forms is poisonous and destructive”.

“I am embarrassed and my actions were not indicative of the man I want to be,” he said.

“There is no place for violence in a world of love and kindness…I am a work in progress.”

Pinkett Smith also called for a “season of healing” on her own social media post.

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