The Academy of Oscars decided on Friday to ban Will Smith from any ceremony or event it will organize for a period of ten years, as punishment for the slap that the actor had struck comedian Chris Rock in full ceremony at the end of March.
“Mr. Smith will not be permitted to attend any Academy event or program, either in person or virtually.”, whether or not it is the Oscars, and with immediate effect, wrote in a statement the board of directors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which met on Friday morning. The Academy accepted Will Smith’s resignation, which he tendered last week, but did not strip him of the Best Actor Oscar he received last month for “The Williams Method”.
The Academy did not mention any ban on the actor from contending for future Oscars.
“I accept and respect the decision of the Academy”, reacted Will Smith in a brief written statement. Will Smith had already apologized for this gesture “ unacceptable and inexcusable and said he would abide by the Academy’s decision.
Friday morning’s meeting of the Academy’s board of directors, attended by stars like Steven Spielberg and Whoopi Goldberg, was part of the disciplinary proceedings brought against the actor after his slap in the middle of the evening of Oscar gala.
A ceremony “overshadowed by the unacceptable and harmful behavior of Mr. Smith on the stage. During our television broadcast, we did not react properly to the situation. We’re sorry”lamented Friday the president of the Academy, David Rubin, and its director general, Dawn Hudson.
“We want to express our deepest gratitude to Mr. Rock for keeping his composure in these extraordinary circumstances”they add in their press release.
Visibly as surprised and shocked as the public by the act of Will Smith, the comedian had nevertheless resumed the thread of the evening as if nothing had happened, then refusing to file a complaint against the 53-year-old actor. Chris Rock has not spoken publicly about this incident. “I’m still digesting what happened. So at some point I’m going to talk about this stuff. And it will be serious and funny”he said on March 30 at the start of a show.