Will Smith banned from Oscars for 10 years

Published 09 Apr, 2022 10:01am

The actor will not be permitted to attend any Academy events or programmes, in person or virtually, for the next decade.

Photo: Reuters
Photo: Reuters

Will Smith was banned on Friday from attending the Oscars for the next 10 years, two weeks after the actor stunned the world by storming on stage mid-ceremony to slap comedian Chris Rock.

Smith will also not be permitted to attend any other events held by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences over the next decade.

The decision, set out in a letter from Academy chiefs, did not revoke the best actor award Smith won last month for King Richard, nor did it mention any ban on future Oscar nominations.

“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 programmes, in person or virtually, including but not limited to the Academy Awards,” wrote president David Rubin and CEO Dawn Hudson.

Academy governors convened on Friday morning to discuss actions against Smith, with board members Steven Spielberg and Whoopi Goldberg among those invited to rule on the actor’s fate.

The meeting of top brass from Hollywood’s leading industry body was originally set to discuss suspending or expelling Smith, but he preemptively resigned from the group.

Actors do not need to be members of the Academy to receive nominations, although each year’s Oscar nominees — and winners — are voted for by members of the group.

Smith’s actions during a live global broadcast stunned audiences and cast a shadow over both the night’s big winners and the Tinseltown showcase event itself.

“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,” said the Academy letter.

It added, “This action we are taking today in response to Will Smith’s behaviour is a step toward a larger goal of protecting the safety of our performers and guests, and restoring trust in the Academy.”

Originally published in Dawn, April 9th, 2022