Per social media chatter, most Oscars viewers initially though Will Smith slapping Chris Rock was staged, or at least a joke, or at least not that serious—that is until programming in the U.S. was muted and Smith broke down in tears on stage.
Now, after what seems like too much time spent talking about the now-infamous slap, the Board of Governors for the Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences has decided to ban the actor from all events for the next 10 years.
“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 Academy said.
The decision comes after the Academy said it would discuss Smith’s future with them following his actions at the awards show (when he—thinking he was defending wife Jada Pinkett Smith from the comedian’s joke about her alopecia—slapped Rock). But before they could decide whether to suspend or expel the King Richard star, he publicly apologised for the slap, and resigned from the Academy himself.
“I have directly responded to the Academy’s disciplinary hearing notice, and I will fully accept any and all consequences for my conduct,” Smith said in a statement. “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.”
Afterwards, Academy executives held a private meeting and released a letter, written by Academy President David Rubin and Academy CEO Dawn Hudson.
“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 exhibit on stage,” the letter reads.
They also apologized for not adequately addressing the situation when it happened. “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 added.
The Academy said that by banning Smith from all events for the next decade, they are taking “a step toward a larger goal of protecting the safety of our performers and guests, and restoring trust in the Academy.” They also praised Rock for “maintaining his composure under extraordinary circumstances.”
The comedian has not publicly addressed the incident, but in a stand-up show in Boston following the Oscars, he joked about the slap to a very enthusiastic audience, who even gave him a standing ovation.
“How was your weekend?” the star began, giving the crowd a wink. “I don’t have a bunch of shit about what happened, so if you came to hear that, I have a whole show I wrote before this weekend. I’m still kind of processing what happened. So, at some point I’ll talk about that shit. And it will be serious and funny.”
He has decided not to press charges, the Los Angeles Police Department confirmed to BAZAAR.com.
Since the slap, Smith has faced quite a few consequences. Not only have many performers and artists criticised his actions, but his career has also apparently taken a hit. Smith’s upcoming Netflix film, Fast and Loose, has reportedly slowed production, per The Hollywood Reporter, and production for Bad Boys 4, which he was also set to star in, has also been paused. Plus, Apple TV+ will soon have to figure out how to promote their upcoming film Emancipation, in which Smith plays a man escaping slavery. It’s scheduled to be released later this year.
This article originally appeared in Harper’s BAZAAR US.