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Will Smith gets 10-year Oscars ban for slapping Chris Rock

April 8, 2022

The US actor has been barred from attending the glamorous Academy Awards ceremony in Los Angeles for 10 years after hitting comedian Chris Rock.

 Will Smith, right, hits presenter Chris Rock on stage while presenting an award at the Oscars on March 27, 2022
Will Smith struck Chris Rock with an open palm after Rock made a quip about Smith's wife's hairImage: Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP/picture alliance

Hollywood star Will Smith will not be allowed to attend the Oscars for a decade, the Academy's board announced.

The latest announcement comes weeks after Smith struck comedian Chris Rock across the face on stage. Rock had made a joke about the appearance of the actor's wife.

What did the Academy say?

The decision to temporarily ban Smith from further events came after a meeting of the Academy's board of governors.

"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.

The 10-year ban extends to the Academy Awards, known as the Oscars, as well as any other academy event.

The academy also apologized for its handling of the incident, after Smith was allowed to stay at the ceremony after the slap. 

Smith later received the "Best Actor" award for his role in "King Richard."

The academy said it "did not adequately address the situation in the room" but said they were "unprepared for the unprecedented."

Will Smith holds up his trophy for "Best Actor" during the Academy Awards
Will Smith went on to win "Best Actor" later on in the evening after hitting Chris RockImage: AMPAS/Zuma/picture alliance

How has Smith responded?

Smith resigned as a member of the academy last week in the run-up to Friday's meeting.

He released a short statement after Friday's announcement, saying: "I accept and respect the Academy's decision."

What happened at the Oscars?

During the Oscars on March 27, Smith strode from his front-row seat onto the stage and slapped Chris Rock across the face for making a joke at the expense of Smith's wife, Jada Pinkett Smith.

Rock — who was appearing as a presenter — joked about Jada Pinkett Smith's shaved head, as he referenced the 1997 film "G.I. Jane" in which actress Demi Moore had shaved her head. 

Smith's wife has in the past spoken about her alopecia diagnosis — a disease that leads to hair loss.

rs/msh (AP, Reuters)

Will Smith resigns from film academy