Today (April 8), the Academy Awards laid down their sentence for Will Smith.
Actor and musician Smith is now banned from the awards ceremony for 10 years after slapping comedian Chris Rock at the broadcast in March.
In a statement, Smith said he accepts the punishment, offering, “I accept and respect the Academy’s decision.”
The ban came in the wake of Smith walking on stage during the most recent awards broadcast and approaching Rock and slapping him in the face after Rock made a joke about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett, and her shaved head.
According to a statement from the Academy, “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.”
The statement continued, “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 behavior 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 Academy also recognized Rock, offering an apology and thanking the famed comedian, saying, “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 statement added, “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. We also hope this can begin a time of healing and restoration for all involved and impacted.”
Prior to the decision from the Academy, Smith resigned from the Academy.
In a statement from Smith released on April 1, he said, “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. I betrayed the trust of the Academy.”
Smith added last week, “I deprived other nominees and winners of their opportunity to celebrate and be celebrated for their extraordinary work. I am heartbroken. I want to put the focus back on those who deserve attention for their achievements and allow the Academy to get back to the incredible work it does to support creativity and artistry in film.
“So, I am resigning from membership in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and will accept any further consequences the Board deems appropriate. Change takes time and I am committed to doing the work to ensure that I never again allow violence to overtake reason.”
Read more about the incident and our story after it happened HERE. Since it has occurred, it’s been the most talked-about pop culture event in recent memory. Now, we hope, everyone can begin to heal and move past the problem.
Stunningly, on the night of the slap, Smith also took home the award for Best Actor for his role in the movie, King Richard.
See the uncensored moment here below:
(Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images)