BEVERLY HILLS | The Academy of Oscars decided on Friday to ban Will Smith from any ceremony or event it will organize for a period of ten years, as punishment for the slap the actor gave comedian Chris Rock in the middle of gala evening at the end of March.
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“Mr. Smith will not be permitted to attend any Academy event or program, in person or virtually,” Academy Awards or not, and effective immediately, Academy leaders wrote in a statement. film arts and sciences.
The Academy accepted Will Smith’s resignation, which he tendered last week, but did not strip him of the Best Actor Oscar he received last month for The Williams Method.
“I accept and respect the decision of the Academy,” responded Will Smith in a brief written statement.
The Academy did not mention any ban on the actor from contending for future Oscars.
Friday morning’s meeting of the Academy’s board of directors, attended by stars like Steven Spielberg and Whoopi Goldberg, was part of the disciplinary proceedings brought against the actor after his slap in the middle of the awards gala. Oscars.
A ceremony “overshadowed by the unacceptable and harmful behavior of Mr. Smith on the stage. During our television broadcast, we did not react properly to the situation. We are sorry about that,” Academy President David Rubin and CEO Dawn Hudson said on Friday.
“We want to express our deepest gratitude to Mr. Rock for keeping his cool under these extraordinary circumstances,” they added in their statement.
Visibly as surprised and shocked as the public by the act of Will Smith, the comedian had nevertheless resumed the thread of the evening as if nothing had happened, then refusing to file a complaint against the 53-year-old actor.
“My actions during the ceremony of the 94and Oscars were shocking, painful and inexcusable,” admitted the actor, five days after going on stage to slap comedian Chris Rock who had just made a joke about his wife’s cropped hair.
Jada Pinkett Smith went public a few years ago with alopecia, a condition that causes severe hair loss.
A few tens of minutes after the slap, Will Smith returned to the Oscars stage to receive the best actor award for his role in The Williams Method.
He had made no act of contrition at the time, contenting himself with castigating “people who disrespect you” and saying that “love makes you do crazy things”.
It wasn’t until the next day, after the Academy announced an internal investigation into the incident, that the actor issued an apology to Chris Rock and the organizers. He then pleaded to have reacted “emotionally” to “a joke about Jada’s health problem”.
Last Friday when finally announcing his resignation, Will Smith admitted to having “betrayed the confidence of the Academy. I deprived other candidates and winners of the chance to celebrate their extraordinary work”.
“I will accept all the consequences that the board of directors deems appropriate,” he added in his text.
Voices were raised to demand that Will Smith be stripped of his Oscar, but others pointed out that neither Harvey Weinstein, a former Hollywood mogul convicted of rape and sexual assault, nor director Roman Polanski had been forced to return their statuettes after being expelled from the Academy.
The day after the incident, actress Whoopi Goldberg herself had considered that this eventuality was unlikely concerning Will Smith. “There will be consequences, I’m sure, but I don’t think that’s what they’re going to do, especially because Chris” Rock has decided not to press charges, she said on television .
For his part, the comedian has not spoken publicly about this incident. “I’m still digesting what happened. So at some point I’m going to talk about this stuff. And it will be serious and funny,” he said on March 30 at the start of a show.