Will Smith's Punishment From The Academy Over Chris Rock Slapping Incident Has Been Revealed

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences had to do something after Will Smith walked on stage during the Oscars and slapped Chris Rock, a presenter, for making a tasteless joke about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. Today, the Academy announced that Smith officially has been “banned from returning to the Oscars or attending any other Academy events for the next 10 years.” This verdict follows Smith’s own decision to resign from the Academy one week ago today.

In a statement released on Friday, Academy President David Rubin and CEO Dawn Hudson stated:

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. During our telecast, we did not adequately address the situation in the room. For this, we are sorry. 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. … 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 programs, in person or virtually, including but not limited to the Academy Awards.

Deadline has added Will Smith’s response to the Academy’s decision, stating:

I accept and respect the Academy’s decision.

Commentary regarding “the slap” has been consistent since the moment that Will Smith walked on stage at the Oscars and struck comedian Chris Rock following a G.I. Jane joke that ignored that actress’s struggle with alopecia. There are very few official accounts of what happened after Smith’s attack on Rock, and the comedian declined to address it during recent stand up performances (he’s currently on tour). Smith did apologize to Rock, though members of both men’s camps have downplayed any real resolution to this serious issue.    

Depending on whom you listen to, Will Smith was asked to leave the ceremony after he struck Chris Rock but refused to go. We also were told that police arrived on the scene and were ready to escort Smith from the premises, until Chris Rock decided not to press charges. We saw many celebrities approaching Will Smith in the room following the slap, and Denzel Washington opened up about advice he gave Smith, all in an attempt to de-escalate the situation.

Does this punishment fit the crime? You can count on more commentary and analysis about the 10-year banishment of Will Smith from attending the Academy Awards and related events. For now, though, a decision has been made, and Smith has accepted it. 

Sean O'Connell
Managing Editor

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. He's frequently found on Twitter at @Sean_OConnell. ReelBlend cohost. A movie junkie who's Infatuated with comic-book films. Helped get the Snyder Cut released, then wrote a book about it.