The Academy banned Will Smith from the Oscars for 10 years as punishment for the Slap

You know what I wonder? If Will Smith had simply apologized and not preemptively resigned from the Academy, I wonder if his punishment would have been a lot lighter. It just felt like the Academy felt like they had to issue some big punishment, and Will probably should have left the Academy membership on the table, you know? The Academy higher-ups moved up their meeting to determine Will’s punishment, and the meeting took place Friday morning in LA, although the mess was conducted over video-conference. Every step the Academy took ahead of the meeting telegraphed the fact that they would grossly overreact to Will Smith slapping Chris Rock. And that’s exactly what they did. They decided that Will is banned from the Oscars and all Academy events for the next ten years. These a–holes are telling on themselves.

Twelve days after Will Smith slapped and screamed profanities at Chris Rock during the 94th Academy Awards ceremony, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has ruled that Smith — who was presented with the best actor Oscar later that same evening — has been banned from returning to the Oscars or attending any other Academy events for the next 10 years. Smith will retain the Oscar that he won and remains eligible for future Oscar nominations and wins.

The Academy’s 54-person board of governors held a special meeting on Friday morning to determine what action to take against Smith. Until one week ago, when Smith announced that he was resigning as a member of the organization, he was expected to face suspension or expulsion, having violated the standards of conduct that the Academy implemented after the outbreak of the #MeToo movement.

Many members of the industry have expressed outrage over Smith’s behavior, which he himself called “shocking, painful and inexcusable.” Some even called for him to lose the Oscar statuette that he was awarded and/or his eligibility for future Oscars. But the Academy appears to have doubled down on its long-held position that there is a line between onscreen work and offscreen conduct. (Harvey Weinstein and Roman Polanski have been expelled from the organization, but each still has the Oscar statuette awarded to them prior to that.)

In a letter to members sent after Friday morning’s meeting, Hudson and Rubin acknowledged that they “did not adequately address the situation in the room” and apologized that they “fell short — unprepared for the unprecedented.” They also expressed “deep gratitude to Mr. Rock for maintaining his composure under extraordinary circumstances” and thanked the evening’s “hosts, nominees, presenters and winners for their poise and grace during our telecast.”

Shortly afterward, Smith, through a spokesperson, issued a brief statement of his own: “I accept and respect the Academy’s decision.”

[From THR]

You can read the open letter to Academy members at THR. As I said, a total overreaction. Even just the trade-paper comparison between Will’s actions to Roman Polanski and Harvey Weinstein. Polanski raped a child. Weinstein raped and sexually abused dozens, if not hundreds, of women. Will Smith slapped a man. A man who had been talking sh-t about Will’s wife for decades. And what kills me is that the Slap made the Oscars into a huge event and one of the biggest cultural moments of the year, and the incident will be referenced in every awards show (including the Oscars) from now on. They’ll find ways to profit from it, monetize it and laugh about it, all while keeping Will marginalized and banned. The Academy looks so out of touch here. At least they didn’t “take” his Oscar, I guess. You know they wanted to.

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Instar.

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