Will Smith Issues Statement Responding To Oscars Ban

Following The Academy's Board of Governors announcement that Will Smith has been banned from all Academy events, including The Oscars, for a ten year period, the actor has released a statement on the matter accepting the ruling. In one sentence statement, Smith wrote: "I accept and respect the Academy's decision." Smith's ban and previous resignation from The Academy came after the fallout of the actor slapping comedian Chris Rock on stage of the 94th Academy Awards. Stories and rumors have swirled since then about what was being considered in the room after the event, which was broadcast uncensored in some countries.

During the ceremony as Rock walked on stage to present the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature, the comedian made a joke at the expense of Smith's wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, specifically referencing her shaved head and drawing a comparison to the Demi Moore-starring movie G.I. Jane. Pinkett Smith suffers from alopecia and has publicly discussed it in the past. Rock's comment about Pinkett Smith seemed to no go over great in the room but the entire vibe changed when Smith walked onto the stage and started the physical altercation. Smith would go on to win the Best Actor Oscar that night, apologizing to The Academy during his speech, and later Rock when he announced he was resigning from The Academy.

It is worth noting that the punishment doled out by The Academy prohibits Smith from attending any AMPAS events, including the Oscars, for a ten year period. Typically the winner of Best Actor/Actress would announce the winner of the prize the next year, something Smith will be ineligible to do. It's also of note that the Board of Governors' decision to ban Smith from their events for a decade does not prevent him from being nominated or winning another award at the Oscars during that time, he would simply not be present to accept it. 

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"I betrayed the trust of the Academy," Smith wrote in his resignation letter. "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. So, I am resigning from membership in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and will accept any further consequences the Board deems appropriate. Change takes time and I am committed to doing the work to ensure that I never again allow violence to overtake reason."