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Will Smith banned from Oscars for 10 years over Chris Rock slap

King Richard star Will Smith had already resigned his membership from the Academy and said before the disciplinary hearing that he would accept any consequences. Following his outburst, he released a public apology and admitted his actions were “shocking” and “inexcusable”.

Will Smith will not be allowed to attend any Academy events, including the Oscars, for 10 years after slapping comedian Chris Rock on stage at the ceremony.

The board of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which organises the Oscars, announced the decision after meeting to discuss possible sanctions following the star’s outburst at the eve

Will Smith accepts the award for best performance by an actor in a leading role for King Richard. Pic: AP Photo/Chris Pizzello
Will Smith at the Vanity Fair Oscar Party. Pic: Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

But she added: “That’s quite a bold statement – you’re banned from the Oscars for 10 years, especially if you’re a big Hollywood superstar. It’s hitting you where it hurts.”

During the ceremony at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles on 27 March, Smith walked on to the stage and smacked Rock, who had made a joke at the expense of the actor’s wife, actress Jada Pinkett Smith, as he was about to present an award.

Smith returned to his seat and shouted twice: “Keep my wife’s name out of your f****** mouth.”

Rock’s joke had made a reference to the 1997 film GI Jane, in which actress Demi Moore shaved her head. It is still unclear whether the comedian was aware that Pinkett Smith has alopecia, an autoimmune condition that causes hair loss, when he made the remark.

Following the outburst, Rock recovered the situation and after a stunned silence the ceremony continued – with Smith going on to win the actor for best Oscar, for his performance playing the father of tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams in King Richard.

In its statement on Friday the Academy said it wanted to “express our deep gratitude to Mr Rock for maintaining his composure under extraordinary circumstances”.

Smith, the star of The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air and Hollywood blockbusters such as I Am Legend, Independence Day and the Men In Black and Bad Boys films, apologised to the Academy and fellow nominees on stage and later attended the Vanity Fair after party with Pinkett Smith and his children, where he posed for photos with his statuette.

But as criticism grew the following day, he released a statement giving a public apology to Rock, saying he reacted “emotionally” to the joke but that “violence in all its forms is poisonous and destructive”.

He resigned from the Academy a week after the incident, saying: “My actions at the 94th Academy Awards presentation were shocking, painful, and inexcusable.”


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