After 10-year ban from Oscars, Will Smith says he accepts decision

Actor Will Smith has responded after the Academy of Motion Pictures and Arts banned him from attending the Oscars or any other academy event for 10 years over him slapping Chris Rock at the 94th Academy Awards. The move comes after a meeting of the academy’s Board of Governors to discuss a response to Will’s actions. (Also Read | Will Smith banned by Academy from attending Oscars for 10 years after slapping Chris Rock)

“I accept and respect the Academy’s decision,” PEOPLE quoted Will’s statement. 

Will will keep the Best Actor award at the Oscars he won after the slap, and he will remain eligible to be nominated for and to win more of them in the 10-year period, though he can’t show up to accept them. The ban means Will will not be presenting the Best Actress award at next year’s Oscars, as is tradition for the best actor winner. Will won the award, his first-ever Oscar for best actor (leading role) in King Richard.

The academy said in a statement, “The 94th 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 behaviour we saw Mr. Smith exhibit on stage. 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.”

The statement added, “Today, the Board of Governors convened a meeting to discuss how best to respond to Will Smith’s actions at the Oscars, in addition to accepting his resignation. 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.”

Thanking Chris Rock, it said, “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 added that the action “is a step toward a larger goal of protecting the safety of our performers and guests, and restoring trust in the Academy.” The statement concluded, “We also hope this can begin a time of healing and restoration for all involved and impacted.”

Will had last week resigned from the Academy during a run-up to the meeting, calling his actions “shocking, painful, and inexcusable.” With his resignation, he lost the ability to vote for nominees and winners.

At the March 27 Academy Awards, Chris came out to present the best documentary award and made jokes about several attendees, including Will’s wife, actor Jada Pinkett Smith. “Jada, I love you. GI Jane 2, can’t wait to see it,” Rock said.

Will strode from his front-row seat on to the stage and smacked Chris, stunning the comedian, the theatre crowd, and viewers at home. Many thought it was a planned gag set up by the show or the men themselves, but the seriousness of the situation set in after Will returned to his seat and angrily twice shouted at Chris to “keep my wife’s name out your (expletive) mouth.”

Will took the stage again less than an hour later to accept his Oscar, tearfully apologising to the academy but notably omitting any mention of Chris. Helater in an Instagram post, apologised to Chris and Academy.

with AP inputs

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