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

Will Smith won the Best Actor Oscar for "King Richard." Photo by Chris Chew/UPI

LOS ANGELES, April 8 (UPI) — Actor Will Smith was banned Friday from the Academy Awards for 10 years as punishment for slapping comedian Chris Rock onstage at the March 27 Oscars.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced the ban, which applies to all Academy programs or events, in person or virtual.

“This action we are taking today in response to Will Smith’s behavior is a step toward a larger goal of protecting the safety of our performers and guests and restoring trust in the Academy,” Academy President David Rubin and CEO Dawn Hudson wrote in a statement. “We also hope this can begin a time of healing and restoration for all involved and impacted.”

On March 30, the Academy Board of Governors announced a disciplinary hearing to commence on April 18. On Wednesday, they moved up the hearing.

Smith voluntarily resigned from the Academy on April 1. He issued an apology to Rock on Instagram on March 28.

While presenting an award at the Oscars on March 27, the comedian made a joke about Will Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, who suffers from alopecia, an autoimmune disorder that causes hair loss. Smith walked up on stage and slapped Rock and then proceeded to yell at him from his seat.

Later in the show, Smith won the Best Actor Oscar award for portraying Richard Williams in “King Richard.” During his speech, he apologized to the Academy, but not to Rock.

“During our telecast, we did not adequately address the situation in the room,” Rubin and Hudson wrote. “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 also thanked Rock for maintaining his composure after the incident. Rock performed standup in Boston on March 30 and said he was still processing the event and would write material about it later.


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