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Academy bans Will Smith from Oscars ceremony for 10 years over Chris Rock slap

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will prohibit actor Will Smith from attending the Academy Awards for 10 years following his Oscars night slap of Chris Rock, the organization announced Friday.

Smith, who slapped Rock for making a joke about his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, already resigned from the group behind the Academy Awards — a move that prevented the motion picture academy from suspending or expelling him.

“Today, the Board of Governors convened a meeting to discuss how best to respond to Will Smith’s actions at the Oscars, in addition to accepting his resignation,” the academy said in an open letter.

“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,” the organization added.

In a statement, Smith said: “I accept and respect the Academy’s decision.” Rock’s representative did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The announcement means that Smith will not be on hand to present the winner of the best actress trophy at next year’s Oscars ceremony — a tradition the producers behind the show have followed for many years. (Anthony Hopkins, who won for his role in “The Father” last year, handed the best actress statuette to “The Eyes of Tammy Faye” star Jessica Chastain this year.)

In recent weeks, Smith, who won a best actor Oscar for “King Richard” after he hit Rock, faced intense scrutiny over his behavior at the Dolby Theatre on March 27.

In a tearful acceptance speech, Smith apologized to the academy. He apologized to Rock in a statement the next day.

In the open letter, signed by academy president David Rubin and CEO Dawn Hudson, the organization thanked Rock for keeping his cool immediately after he was slapped.

“We want to express our deep gratitude to Mr. Rock for maintaining his composure under extraordinary circumstances,” the group said. “We also want to thank our hosts, nominees, presenters and winners for their poise and grace during our telecast.”

The academy apologized for not taking steps to “adequately address the situation in the room” after the incident.

“For this, we are sorry. 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,” the group said.

The academy’s standards of conduct rules are not tied to awards eligibility, a spokesperson for the group said, meaning that Smith could conceivably be nominated for his work in a film over the next decade and beyond. He next stars in the slavery-themed drama “Emancipation,” which Apple TV+ has said it plans to release sometime this year.

In “King Richard,” Smith portrays Richard Williams, the ambitious father of tennis superstars Venus and Serena Williams. He was also one of the producers of the film.