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The Academy bans Will Smith for 10 years for Chris Rock slap

Will Smith cannot attend any Academy events or programs after slapping Chris Rock.
Associated Press
Will Smith cannot attend any Academy events or programs after slapping Chris Rock.

Updated April 8, 2022 at 4:13 PM ET

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will ban actor Will Smith from all its events, virtually or in person, for 10 years.

This was Smith's punishment for infamously walking onstage at the Oscars to slap comedian Chris Rock after he joked about Smith's wife's hair. The Academy's board of governors met Friday to decide what to do about him.

"We want 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 poise and grace during our telecast," read a statement by the Academy. "This action we are taking today in response to Will Smith's behavior is a step toward a larger goal of protecting the safety of our performers and guests, and restoring trust in the Academy. We also hope this can begin a time of healing and restoration for all involved and impacted."

Will Smith resigned from the Academy last week. In his statement, Smith said his actions at the Oscars were inexcusable.

"The list of those I have hurt is long and includes Chris, his family, many of my dear friends and loved ones, all those in attendance, and global audiences at home," Smith wrote. "I betrayed the trust of the Academy. I deprived other nominees and winners of their opportunity to celebrate and be celebrated for their extraordinary work. I am heartbroken. I want to put the focus back on those who deserve attention for their achievements and allow the Academy to get back to the incredible work it does to support creativity and artistry in film."

Smith also wrote that he was committed to changing himself "to never again allow violence to overtake reason."

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

As an arts correspondent based at NPR West, Mandalit del Barco reports and produces stories about film, television, music, visual arts, dance and other topics. Over the years, she has also covered everything from street gangs to Hollywood, police and prisons, marijuana, immigration, race relations, natural disasters, Latino arts and urban street culture (including hip hop dance, music, and art). Every year, she covers the Oscars and the Grammy awards for NPR, as well as the Sundance Film Festival and other events. Her news reports, feature stories and photos, filed from Los Angeles and abroad, can be heard on All Things Considered, Morning Edition, Weekend Edition, Alt.latino, and npr.org.

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