Will Smith is paying a price for the slap heard around the world.
The actor, who won the Oscar for “King Richard,” won’t be allowed to attend the Academy Awards for the next 10 years. He also is banned from in-person or virtual attendance at any other Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences events for the same period.
The ban was issued Friday by the academy’s Board of Governors, which conceded in a statement that it should have addressed the matter immediately when Mr. Smith walked up to Chris Rock, who was presenting the Oscar for best documentary, and slapped him hard during the live telecast at the Dolby Theatre. The March 27 broadcast from Hollywood was watched by the entire world.
“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,” said the statement, signed by academy President David Rubin and CEO Dawn Hudson and emailed to the News-Press and other media.
“We also hope this can begin a time of healing and restoration for all involved and impacted,” the two academy leaders wrote.
Mr. Smith responded to the ban by saying in a statement, “I accept and respect the Academy’s decision.”
During the Oscars telecast, Mr. Smith angrily approached Mr. Rock after the former “Saturday Night Live” actor made a “G.I. Jane” joke about Jada Pinkett Smith, Mr. Smith’s wife. Ms. Pinkett Smith’s head is shaved, and she has experienced hair loss because of alopecia, an autoimmune condition.
After the slap, Mr. Smith returned to his seat, near the front of the stage, and cursed as he told Mr. Rock to stop making jokes about his wife. The telecast, which was on a five-second delay, didn’t air Mr. Smith’s language. But the camera was on him, and it was clear what he was saying.
No security officers approached Mr. Smith during that moment, and he was allowed to remain in the theater, where a short while later, he won the Oscar for best actor. During his acceptance speech, he tearfully apologized for his behavior, but didn’t apologize immediately to Mr. Rock. That apology came later, and Mr. Smith resigned April 1 from the academy.
“I have directly responded to the Academy’s disciplinary hearing notice, and I will fully accept any and all consequences for my conduct,” Mr. Smith wrote in his resignation letter. “My actions at the 94th Academy Awards presentation were shocking, painful and inexcusable.”
The slap was unprecedented in the history of Oscars, which the Board of Governors acknowledged as it admitted it should have taken immediate action.
“During our telecast, we did not adequately address the situation in the room. For this, we are sorry,” said the statement signed by Mr. Rubin and Ms. Hudson. “This was an opportunity for us to set an example for our guests, viewers and our Academy family around the world, and we fell short — unprepared for the unprecedented.”
They also said, “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 exhibited on stage.”
The Los Angeles Police Department said Mr. Rock declined to press charges against Mr. Smith.
In their statement, Mr. Rubin and Ms. Hudson thanked 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,” they said.