The slap saga continues!
It’s only been 2 weeks since the slap rocked Chris Rock’s jaw and the rest of the 2022 Oscar Awards, and the fallout is far from over. After everyone from host Amy Schumer to Bill Maher has weighed in (even though literally no one asked), People reports the Motion Picture Academy of Arts and Sciences finally made an official decision on Will Smith’s consequences: a 10-year ban from the Academy Awards.
“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,” said a letter sent by Academy President David Rubin and CEO Dawn Hudson.
“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,” the statement announced on Friday.
Will has already responded to the decade-long ban, saying, “I accept and respect the Academy’s decision.”
The Oscar-winning actor apologized to the Academy during his acceptance speech, publicly apologized to Chris the next day, and resigned from his Academy membership in the immediate aftermath. The latter move preemptively avoided the punishment of suspending or expelling him from the elite Hollywood group.
“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,” Will wrote in his resignation statement.
The length of the ban sparked accusations of reactionary and heavy-handed bias against one of the Academy’s few Black members compared to filmmakers like Roman Polanski, who wasn’t banned from the Oscars until 30 years after he plead guilty to the rape of a 13-year-old and fled the U.S. as a fugitive.
The ban already affects the future of the Oscars, preventing Will from partaking in the tradition of presenting the 2023 Best Actress trophy as the previous year’s Best Actor winner for King Richard. However, the actor will still be eligible to be nominated and win an Academy Award.
“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,” the announcement continued. “We also hope this can begin a time of healing and restoration for all involved and impacted.”
As the receipts about other celebrities’ misconduct are running longer than the award show itself, the Academy has a lot more work to do now that it’s so eager to take swift action against its members for acts of violence. Even if Polanski and Harvey Weinstein aren’t similar enough examples to Will Smith’s violation (because their off-camera crimes are infinitely worse), Adrien Brody and John Wayne getting away with violence on the Oscars stage still raises plenty of questions about the fairness of this decision.
Do you think Will Smith deserves a 10-year ban for slapping Chris Rock?