The Academy has banned Will Smith from attending the Oscars and associated events for a period of 10 years.
The punishment was announced by the Academy Board of Governors’ following a meeting on Friday morning. The meeting had originally been scheduled for April 18th, but was pushed up after Smith announced his resignation from the Academy and said he would not contest any additional punishments.
Prior to announcing the winner for documentary feature, Rock cracked a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith’s hair, prompting her husband Smith to walk up to Rock and strike him with his open hand.
The US broadcast quickly cut the sound, but the international feed captured the full interaction. Rock said, “Wow, Will Smith just smacked the shit out of me.” Smith returned to his seat, where he hollered, “Keep my wife’s name out of your fucking mouth!”
“Wow, dude, it was a G.I. Jane joke,” Rock retorted. Smith yelled again, “Keep my wife’s name out your fucking mouth!”
Pinkett Smith announced last year that she had shaved her head after struggling with alopecia. In an Instagram post, she wrote, “Now at this point, I can only laugh… y’all know I’ve been struggling with alopecia. Just all of a sudden, one day…it just showed up like that. Now, this is going to be a little bit more difficult for me to hide. So, I thought I’d just share it so y’all not asking any questions…Mama’s gonna have to take it down to the scalp so nobody thinks she got brain surgery or something. Me and this alopecia are going to be friends … period!”
Smith apologized for his physical outburst several times, first during his Best Actor acceptance speech, and again in a statement several days later. He wrote, “I was out of line and I was wrong. I am embarrassed and my actions were not indicative of the man I want to be. There is no place for violence in a world of love and kindness.” He apologized again when he resigned from the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, saying he, “will accept any further consequences the Board deems appropriate.”
Even though police were ready to arrest Smith at the Oscars, Rock declined to file a police report, and he has thus far chose not to address the incident at recent standup shows.
Beyond his suspension from the Academy, Smith has also seen several of his upcoming film projects put on hold. Despite the controversy, the actor does still have a few supporters in his corner. Denzel Washington believes “the devil got a hold of him that night” and thus, “who are we to condemn?” Meanwhile, director Michael Bay is more concerned about the ongoing war in Ukraine.