Academy Bans Will Smith From Oscars Ceremony For 10 Years
After convening for a special meeting to determine their response to Will Smith slapping Chris Rock at the 94th Academy Awards, the Academy’s board of governors has announced that it will ban Smith from the ceremony for the next ten years.
The actor will be allowed to keep the Oscar he won for King Richard and is still eligible for Academy Awards for future performances. He also resigned from the Academy last week, which is likely why they scrambled to move their conference up to today as they had previously been considering expelling him from the Academy as part of his punishment.
In a public statement, Academy President Dave Rubin and CEO Dawn Hudson announced the decision and also addressed some criticism they have been facing for how the situation was handled. Some critics have said that Smith should have been asked to leave, and different reps from the Academy have provided conflicting accounts as to whether he refused to leave or not.
“During our telecast, we did not adequately address the situation in the room,” Rubin and Hudson admitted. “For this, we are sorry. This is an opportunity to set an example for our guests, viewers and our Academy family around the world, and we fell short –– unprepared for the unprecedented.”
They also added that Smith’s banning will extend to “any Academy events or programs, in person or virtually, including but not limited to the Academy Awards.” Through a spokesperson, Smith has reportedly responded with “I accept and respect the Academy’s decision.”
The Board of Governors is composed of 54 members, with three Governors representing different branches of the industry like Writers, Studio executives, Casting Directors and Cinematographers. Governors you’ll recognize from the Actor’s Branch are currently Laura Dern, Whoopi Goldberg, and Rita Wilson, along with Ava DuVernay and Steven Spielberg from the Director’s Branch.
While some seem pleased by the Academy’s response to Smith’s actions, there are plenty of violent and problematic people that remain fully endorsed by the Academy and welcomed back to the ceremony with open arms.
Mel Gibson, a proven anti-semite, and accused domestic abuser was briefly radioactive in Hollywood for a few years following several recordings of racist comments he made being released, along with one recording where he seemed to admit to beating his ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva and saying she “deserved” it. He has since seen a significant career resurgence starting in 2011 which included directing the Oscar-winning Hacksaw Ridge in 2016.
Casey Affleck was faced with multiple allegations of sexual assault by crew members on a film he directed while campaigning for the Best Actor Oscar for Manchester By The Sea, and he still won that honor with minimal discussion by the Academy. Affleck has since apologized for his explosive denial of the allegations and admitted to “unprofessional” behavior on his set.