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“I Accept And Respect The Academy’s Decision,” Will Smith Says After Ban From Oscars For Next 10 Years

Although Will Smith resigned from the Academy following his Oscars slap of Chris Rock, the organization has imposed a hefty penalty against the actor: A 10-year ban from the Oscars, as well as all Academy-related events.

“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,” the Academy’s Board of Governors announced Friday in a statement (via Variety).

“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 added that today marked the first board meeting since Smith’s infamous slap and outburst during the live telecast, and while they already accepted his resignation, an additional punishment was necessary. 

As a result, starting today, Smith was barred from any Academy events or programs, in person or virtually, including but not limited to the Academy Awards; Variety notes that Smith can still be nominated and win Oscars during this decade-long stretch, but he won’t be allowed on hand to accept it (nor will he have to return the Best Oscar Award he just won for King Richard).

In response to the Academy’s punishment, Smith said in a statement, “I accept and respect the Academy’s decision.”

“We want to express our deep gratitude to Mr. Rock for maintaining his composure under extraordinary circumstances,” the Board of Governors said in their statement. “We also want to thank our hosts, nominees, presenters and winners for their poise and grace during our telecast.” The Academy also said the Smith situation was the catalyst for “a larger goal of protecting the safety of our performers and guests” from future slaps.

“My actions at the 94th Academy Awards presentation were shocking, painful, and inexcusable,” Smith previously wrote in his Academy resignation. “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. I deprived other nominees and winners of their opportunity to celebrate and be celebrated for their extraordinary work.” 

The actor, whose upcoming projects are reportedly on pause following the incident, added, “I am heartbroken.”

First published in Rolling Stone, https://www.rollingstone.com/movies/movie-news/will-smith-oscar-10-year-ban-chris-rock-academy-1335039/

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