Over two weeks later, Will Smith’s and Chris Rock’s Oscar showdown continues to resonate in the headlines, most recently with rumors that the King Richard star voluntarily checked himself into a rehabilitation center. Although, perhaps the most shocking and confirmed update is that of the Hollywood A-lister being banned from the Academy for the next 10 years.
“The Board of Governors 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 Academy said in a statement on Friday.
The statement continued, “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.”
Soon after the announcement, Smith responded shortly after saying, “I respect and support the Academy’s decision.”
Smith, who also won his first Oscar that night for his role in King Richard, slapped Chris Rock after the comedian made a “G.I. Jane” joke about his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, who has been vocal regarding her hair loss as a result of Alopecia.
Although the 53-year-old actor graciously accepted the consequences of his actions that Sunday night, others felt that Smith’s punishment did not equate with the crime.
“Will Smith’s 10-year Oscar ban seems to represent a reactionary punishment that seems to do little to move the conversations forward on either the inappropriateness of Will Smith’s violence or the insensitivity of Chris Rock’s joke,” said Matthew Kincaid, an activist who serves as the CEO and founder of Overcoming Racism.
Matthew Kincaid, whose organization provides consultation and training on race and diversity inclusion to non-profits and schools, added, “When looking at the other people who have faced Oscar bans, and how long the academy had been aware of their inexcusable behavior prior to acting, I am not sure exactly what message is being sent here.”
Other celebrities who have been banned from the Academy over the years include Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby, and Roman Polanski, Variety reports. Weinstein, Cosby, and Polanski all faced sexual allegations.
As of now, the Academy is standing firm on its decision to ban Smith from its events over the next decade. A source told US Weekly that the ‘Fresh Prince’ star is afraid of the aftermath of his actions.
“His biggest fear is that he’s in the process of being fully canceled,” the source said, “and there’s nothing he can really do about it except sit back, suck up his punishment like a man, and try to atone however he can.”