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Will Smith Banned From Oscars Ceremony For 10 Years After The Slap

Actor Will Smith took to the stage and slapped comedian Chris Rock because of a joke he made about Will’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. It appears that the Men in Black star was not impressed with the comedian’s remark that Jada’s shaved haircut was reminiscent of the famous film character G.I Jane. Jada has been openly suffering from the hair loss condition Alopecia since 2018. 

“Jada, G.I Jane 2, I can’t wait to see it,’ said Rock in a skit to the Oscars audience seated in the Dolby Theatre, Los Angeles. 50-year-old Jada seemed visibly annoyed, rolling her eyes at the comment. But it was her husband who decided to take action, arising from his seat and storming the stage, Will proceeded to slap Chris Rock around the face in front of a visibly shocked crowd. 

Images Alight/ Flickr | Will Smith has a net worth of $350 million

Later that day, Will took it to his social media to share a public apology to Chris via Instagram, in which he directly addressed Chris and apologised for crossing the line. Will described his behaviour as “unacceptable” and “inexcusable.” he added that he “reacted emotionally” to the joke about his wife’s medical condition. 

Turns out Will Smith’s infamous slap heard around the world wasn’t the first “smackdown” connected to Chris Rock. Shawn Wayans seemingly predicted the future of the viral Oscars 2022 moment when Will Smith casually strolled up on stage and smacked the “Everybody Hates Chris” creator for making a bald joke about Jada Pinkett Smith, way, way back at the 2000 MTV VMAs.

The 10-year ban announcement 

Gage Skidmore/ Flickr | Some mental health experts say that Smith’s violent childhood may have played a role in his response to Rock’s joke about Pinkett Smith

The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences says they asked Will Smith to leave the Oscars on Sunday after he slapped Chris Rock, but the actor refused. “Things unfolded in a way we could not have anticipated,” The Academy told the Associated Press Wednesday. “While we would like to clarify that Mr Smith was asked to leave the ceremony and refused, we also recognize we could have handled the situation differently.”

In a statement, the Academy said the 94th Oscars had been “overshadowed by the unacceptable and harmful behaviour we saw Mr Smith exhibit on stage”. Smith has apologised for his actions and resigned from the Academy. The Academy said that at the time of the slap it did not “adequately address the situation in the room” and had been “unprepared for the unprecedented”

Dick Thomas Johnson/ Wikimedia | Will Smith is one of the highest-paid actors of the last twenty years, having earned hundreds of millions of dollars

In his resignation statement, Smith said he had “betrayed the trust of the Academy” and was “heartbroken” over his actions. He added he would “fully accept any and all consequences for my conduct”. His resignation means he will be unable to vote for future Oscars voters. The Academy’s disciplinary review over the incident, originally scheduled for 18 April, was fast-tracked after Smith resigned. 

The standards of conduct laid out by the film academy contained various disciplinary options for Smith, such as excluding him from future Oscars ceremonies, revoking his eligibility for awards or taking back his newly won Oscar. This latest Oscar was won less than an hour later to the slap and was awarded the best actor award for his role in “King Richard”, where he played the father of tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams.

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