Will Smith has been banned from attending the Oscars for 10 years, the academy that hands out the awards announced, less than two weeks after the American actor slapped comedian Chris Rock on stage.
After a meeting of its board of governors, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences said on Friday that Smith also would not be allowed to attend any other events hosted by the academy during that period.
“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 said in a statement.
Smith walked on stage during the 94th Academy Awards ceremony in Los Angeles on March 27 and slapped Rock after the comedian likened the actor’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, who has a shaved head, to the movie character GI Jane.
Pinkett Smith has spoken publicly about her struggles with alopecia, an autoimmune condition that results in hair loss, and her decision to shave her head.
A day later, Smith apologised to Rock. He also resigned from the academy last week, saying on April 1 that his actions were “shocking, painful and inexcusable”.
At that time, Smith said he would “accept any further consequences” that the academy’s board deemed appropriate.
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.
“I accept and respect the Academy’s decision,” Smith said in a statement on Friday after the ban was announced.
The move means Smith will not be presenting one of the major awards at next year’s Oscars, as is tradition for the best actor winner.
He took home that award for his performance in the tennis biopic, King Richard, less than an hour after striking Rock on the same stage.
The academy in its Friday statement also expressed “deep gratitude to Mr. Rock for maintaining his composure under extraordinary circumstances” and apologised for its handling of the situation.
“During our telecast, we did not adequately address the situation in the room. For this, we are sorry,” it said. “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.”
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.
Some had called for Smith to be stripped of his Oscar, but that was considered unlikely, as the likes of Harvey Weinstein and Roman Polanski did not have their awards revoked when they were expelled from the Academy in the wake of sexual assault allegations.