As punishment for a slapping incident, Will Smith is banned from attending the Academy Awards for 10 years
In punishment for actor Will Smith, who slapped comedian Chris Rock onstage at the recent Academy Awards, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced today that it has banned Smith from attending Oscars for the next 10 years. excluded awards.
In response, Smith said, “I accept and respect the Academy’s decision.”
An academy board member tells CNN that the decision came only after “tons of debate” about possible sanctions that should be imposed on Smith.
According to the New York Times“The Academy declined to elaborate on whether Mr. Smith remains eligible for an Oscar nomination, but two industry figures who knew their rules and were granted anonymity to discuss the Academy’s process said, that Mr. Smith is still eligible to win Oscars but cannot attend the Academy Awards and other events.”
The Academy issued the following statement [I’ve added subheads to help highlight different portions of their response.]
Smith’s “unacceptable and harmful conduct”
“The 94th Academy Awards should be a celebration of the many individuals in our community who have done incredible work over the past year. However, those moments were overshadowed by the unacceptable and harmful behavior we saw Mr. Smith exhibit on stage.
“During our broadcast, we didn’t adequately address the situation in the room. We’re sorry. This was an opportunity for us to set an example for our guests, viewers and our Academy family around the world, and we failed – unprepared for the unprecedented.”
Banned for 10 years
“Today the Board of Governors convened a meeting to discuss how best to respond to Will Smith’s behavior at the Oscars and accept his resignation. The Board has determined that Mr. Smith shall not participate, in person or virtually, in any Academy events or programs, including but not limited to the Academy Awards, for a period of 10 years beginning April 8, 2022.”
Rock’s handling of incidents
“We would like to express our deep gratitude to Mr Rock for maintaining his composure under extraordinary circumstances. We also want to thank our hosts, nominees, presenters and winners for their attitude and grace throughout our broadcast.”
“This action we are taking today in response to Will Smith’s behavior is a step towards a larger goal of protecting the safety of our artists and guests and restoring confidence in the Academy.
“We also hope this can begin a time of healing and recovery for all involved and affected.”
impact of the decision
That New York Times reported that “Mr. Barring Smith from next year’s ceremony means he won’t be able to present the Oscar for best actress, overturning a tradition in which the previous year’s best actor winner presented the award for the best actress category, and vice versa.
“The punishment could also mean trouble for the upcoming film ‘Emancipation,’ a $100 million drama for Apple.
“Directed by Antoine Fuqua and starring Mr. Smith as a runaway slave who joins the Union Army, the film is in post-production and has already been heralded as a possible contender for the award. Apple officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment.”
“A Sufficient Sanction”
Christina Kumar is director of public relations for the Northern California Filmmakers Coalition. She noted: “This is a sufficient sanction against Smith as it is a 10 year period. That’s a long time.”
Kumar said, “There are a lot of people who didn’t expect Smith to have such an impact given his status in the entertainment industry.
“That [action] the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is commendable…[it]shows that they will take action when unethical situations arise, and [because] Many entertainment industry elites have received licenses for unethical behavior in the past, showing the progress of the industry.”
The least that could have happened
Attorney Sivonnia DeBarros said: “10 years may be considered excessive for most, but I believe it is the minimum [Smith] could have gotten. His award could possibly have been revoked for his bad behavior, [Rock] could sue him civilly for monetary damages, and [Smith] could be prosecuted for beatings…”
sending a message
“The message the Academy is currently sending is that such behavior will not be tolerated. However, it still smells like “We’re only doing something because of the outcry”. There should definitely be tougher sanctions for those who act in this way. including having her award revoked,” she recommended.
“As a business, sports and entertainment attorney, I have seen clients and others lose more for a lot less. There shouldn’t be any special privileges for someone just because they’re a celebrity,” DeBarros concluded.
Play it safe
Michelle Burson is President of MarComm, a marketing and communications agency. He said the Academy “played it safe with its decision… Given the ubiquitous press coverage of the incident, the Academy was placed in a position where it had to take some form of action against Will Smith.”
“If the academy didn’t do anything, or just released a statement condemning Smith’s actions without any consequences, they would probably face a backlash of ‘the academy condones violent behavior,'” she thought.
The last thing they want
“A narrative that the Academy is ‘pro-violence’ is the last thing they want to deal with now, as they’re still recovering from last year’s dismal reviews and claim they’re failing to educate people of color nominate.
“The academy’s decision was wise and safe. It prevents accusations of racism or the Academy condoning violence,” Burson commented.