Academy bans Will Smith from Oscars and events for 10 years following Chris Rock slap

Twelve days after Will Smith slapped and screamed profanities at Chris Rock during the 94th Academy Awards ceremony, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has ruled that Smith — who was presented with the best actor Oscar later that same evening — has been banned from returning to the Oscars or attending any other Academy events for the next 10 years.

The Academy’s 54-person board of governors held a special meeting on Friday morning to determine what action to take against Smith.

Until one week ago, when Smith announced that he was resigning as a member of the organisation, he was expected to face suspension or expulsion, having violated the standards of conduct that the Academy implemented after the outbreak of the #MeToo movement.

Smith, one of Hollywood’s most popular leading men for decades, exploded after Rock made a joke referencing the baldness of Smith’s wife, actress Jada Pinkett Smith, who suffers from alopecia.

Rock reportedly went off-script and improvised the joke, not knowing of Pinkett Smith’s condition. Pinkett Smith looked nonplussed, apparently prompting Smith, who initially laughed at the joke, to snap, as attendees looked on in disbelief.

In a statement issued after the incident, the Academy “condemned” Smith’s actions, and said an investigation was being launched into prospective sanctions.

“The Academy condemns the actions of Mr Smith at last night’s show,” said the organisation. “We have officially started a formal review around the incident and will explore further action and consequences in accordance with our Bylaws, Standards of Conduct and California law.”

Following the incident some called for Smith to lose the Oscar statuette that he was awarded and/or his eligibility for future Oscars. But the Academy seems to hold a position that there is a line between on-screen work and off-screen conduct.

Harvey Weinstein and Roman Polanski have been expelled from the organisation, but each still has the Oscar statuette awarded to them prior to that.

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