Oscars slap scandal: The Academy announces Will Smith's punishment
LOS ANGELES - After expediting a meeting by ten days to discuss the disciplinary actions Will Smith will face after slapping Chris Rock on the Oscars stage, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has reached a decision.
The Academy's Board of Governors met Friday and after the vote, the Academy President and CEO said, "The Board [of Governors] 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."
"I accept and respect the Academy’s decision," Smith said in response.
Before presenting the award for Best Documentary Feature on Hollywood’s Biggest Night on March 27, Rock made a joke about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith.
TOPSHOT - US actor Will Smith (R) slaps US actor Chris Rock onstage during the 94th Oscars at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, California on March 27, 2022. (Photo by Robyn Beck / AFP) (Photo by ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images)
"Jada, ‘GI Jane 2,’ I can’t wait to see it," Rock said in front of the Oscars audience. Pinkett Smith rolled her eyes in response. In 2018, the actress was diagnosed with alopecia, which is something Rock was reportedly unaware of.
After seeing his wife’s response and with cameras rolling during the live event, Smith stormed to the Oscars stage and slapped Rock across the face.
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The shocking moment immediately went viral and set social media ablaze. Roughly 24 hours after the slap that was seen and heard across the globe, James Corden even made an Encanto parody called "We Don’t Talk About Jada," during his late-night talk show.
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After slapping Rock, Smith, a nominee, was allowed to sit through the rest of the awards ceremony and later that evening, was able to give a speech after winning the Best Actor in a Leading Role for "King Richard."
The Academy said in a letter Friday that the award ceremony is "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."
The meeting to discuss Smith’s punishment, initially scheduled for April 18, was moved up after Smith formally withdrew from The Academy on April 1.
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Last week, a spokesperson for Smith released the following statement when the "King Richard" actor announced his resignation from The Academy, which read in part:
"I have directly responded to the Academy’s disciplinary hearing notice, and I will fully accept any and all consequences for my conduct. My actions at the 94th Academy Awards presentation were shocking, painful, and inexcusable. 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."
RELATED: Will Smith resigns from The Academy amid Chris Rock Oscars slap backlash
Days prior to resigning from The Academy, Smith issued a public apology to Rock, saying, "I was out of line and I was wrong."
Officers with the Los Angeles Police Department were ready to arrest the megastar after the assault. However, Rock has declined to press criminal charges against Smith.
"During the 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," The Academy said.
The legendary comedian is being praised and has received support from Hollywood for how handled the situation.
"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," The Academy said Friday.
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In 2020, he revealed he was diagnosed with nonverbal learning disorder as an adult, telling The Hollywood Reporter the condition means he has challenges interpreting nonverbal signals in social situations.
RELATED: Video of Chris Rock recalling childhood abuse resurfaces after Oscars slap
Rock is currently on the road for his "Ego Death" tour, which is his first stand-up comedy tour in five years.
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