Will Smith, 53, issued a short and simple statement following the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ decision to ban him from all Academy-related events (including the Oscars) for the next 10 years, because he ran onstage and slapped Chris Rock, 57, during the 2022 Academy Awards. “I accept and respect the Academy’s decision,” he said in a very short statement on Friday April 8 to Page Six.
Will’s response came shortly after the Academy announced the plan to bar him from all Academy events for the next decade. “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,” AMPAS President David Rubin and CEO Dawn Hudson said in a statement.
The 10-year ban is only the most recent consequence of the “slap heard ’round the world.” The Academy had announced that it would begin a formal investigation and review of the incident shortly after the award show. Will was also given the opportunity to explain himself during a 30-minute Zoom call with Academy members on March 31. The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air star reportedly apologized during the discussion. Will resigned from the Academy the following day. “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,” he said. A few of Will’s projects were also put on hold in light of the incident, including Bad Boys 4.
In the immediate aftermath of the slapping incident, Will did apologize to the Academy and his fellow nominees on-stage when he accepted his Best Actor win for his performance in King Richard. He offered a formal apology to Chris the day after the show on Instagram. “I would like to publicly apologize to you, Chris. I was out of line and I was wrong. I am embarrassed and my actions were not indicative of the man I want to be. There is no place for violence in a world of love and kindness,” he wrote.
As for Chris, the comic hasn’t spoken much about the incident since it happened. At his first comedy show in Boston following the Oscars, he told the audience that he was “still kinda processing” the incident and didn’t address it much further. During a drop-in at New York City’s Comedy Cellar on Tuesday, Chris told the audience to “lower your expectations” and that he wouldn’t be joking about it. A source close to the comedian revealed to HollywoodLife exclusively that he was still working through what happened. “Chris Rock doesn’t want the Will Smith slap to define him and the rest of his career. It sucks that it is now part of his life forever,” they said. “He doesn’t know when he will talk about it, he knows he will have to at some point, but he literally is focusing on his tour and for the dust to fully settle.”