The fallout from Will Smith’s slapping Chris Rock at the Oscars ten days ago continues. Today, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced he is banned from Academy events for 10 years, including the Oscars. Smith will keep the Best Actor award he won for King Richard, but while he can still be nominated for future Oscars, he can no longer vote on the awards. The Academy’s Board of Governors for 2021-2022 includes Laura Dern, Whoopi Goldberg, Ava Duvernay, Steven Spielberg, and Ruth Carter, among others.
“We also hope this can begin a time of healing and restoration for all involved and impacted,” the Academy said in a statement. Smith responded with a statement of his own: “I accept and respect the Academy’s decision.”
There are other reverberations: The film industry has been hesitant to move forward with various Smith projects while the slapping controversy continues to linger. Netflix is pausing work on an action film called Fast and Loose; Smith’s ambitious Apple+ film Emancipation does not have a hard release date, and progress on Bad Boys 4 has halted as well.
Various awards show hosts past and present have shared their thoughts on The Slap. Oscars co-host Amy Schumer told Andy Cohen, “It really felt like the Situation Room of comedy. We were all just, like, watching the monitor. And then he won. ” She also explained that she was surprised by the rapturous response Smith got upon hearing his name announced for Best Actor. Schumer’s co-host Wanda Sykes said she “felt awful” for Rock and did not support Smith staying through the end of the show. For them to let him stay in that room and enjoy the rest of the show and accept his award, I was like, ‘How gross is this? This is just the wrong message.”
Ricky Gervais, known for insulting fellow celebrities with great aplomb at the Golden Globes, has offered up his own unique contribution in the form of a more abrasive joke about Jada Pinkett-Smith. He said he felt Rock’s joke about her baldness was “tame,” and claimed, “Nothing would happen to me because I wouldn’t have told a joke about his wife’s hair. I’d have told a joke about her boyfriend.” (A reference to the pair’s open relationship and the singer August Alsina.) Gervais also implied he doesn’t see Pinkett Smith’s alopecia as a serious medical issue that shouldn’t be made fun of, equating it to his being heavyset and losing his hair .
Billy Crystal, who has hosted the Oscars nine times, said during an interview with Bob Costas for Back on the Record that what happened “was an assault.”
Finally, if we can believe Us Weekly‘s unnamed sources, even the woman Smith was defending didn’t approve of The Slap. According to an “insider,” Pinkett-Smith thinks he “overreacted” and “she’s not one of these women that needs protecting. He didn’t need to do what he did, she didn’t need protecting. She’s not a wallflower,” the source shared. “She’s a strong woman, an opinionated woman and she can fight her own battles. But she will stand by him.”
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