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Will Smith banned from Oscars ceremony for 10 years following Chris Rock incident

The academy's board of governors said it hoped its decision will allow "healing" to begin for all those involved.
94th Annual Academy Awards - Show
Chris Rock reacts to being slapped across the face by Will Smith at the 94th Annual Academy Awards in March.Neilson Barnard / Getty Images

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' board of governors has banned Will Smith from attending the Academy Awards ceremony — or any other academy events or programs — for the next 10 years.

The decision was made at a disciplinary meeting on Friday that was held to discuss possible consequences for Smith’s actions at the 94th Academy Awards last month. The "King Richard" star slapped presenter Chris Rock after Rock told a joke about Smith's wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, and her shaved head during the live telecast of the ceremony on March 27. Pinkett Smith had previously discussed her struggle with alopecia, which causes hair loss.

In response to Friday's announcement, Smith said in a statement, “I accept and respect the Academy’s decision.”

Rock’s representative did not immediately respond to a request by NBC News for comment.

"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," Academy President David Rubin and CEO Dawn Hudson said Friday in a letter announcing the board's decision, which was obtained by NBC News.

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Rubin and Hudson apologized for the academy not being adequately prepared to handle Smith's actions during the live telecast.

 "During our telecast, we did not adequately address the situation in the room. 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," they wrote.

"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," they continued.

"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," they wrote.

The pair went on to thank comedian Rock for staying focused onstage after Smith hit him.

 "We want to express our deep gratitude to Mr. Rock for maintaining his composure under extraordinary circumstances. We also want to thank our hosts, nominees, presenters and winners for their poise and grace during our telecast," they wrote.

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They concluded the letter by sharing the board's hope that its decision will allow "healing" to begin for all those involved.

"This action we are taking today in response to Will Smith’s behavior is a step toward a larger goal of protecting the safety of our performers and guests, and restoring trust in the Academy," they wrote, adding, "We also hope this can begin a time of healing and restoration for all involved and impacted."

One day after the chaotic Oscars ceremony, Smith publicly apologized to Rock in a lengthy statement he posted on his Instagram page.

"My behavior at last night’s Academy Awards was unacceptable and inexcusable. Jokes at my expense are a part of the job, but a joke about Jada’s medical condition was too much for me to bear and I reacted emotionally,” Smith wrote in part. “I would like to publicly apologize to you, Chris. I was out of line and I was wrong. I am embarrassed and my actions were not indicative of the man I want to be. There is no place for violence in a world of love and kindness.”

In his statement, Smith also apologized to the academy, as well as the producers of the show, the attendees, viewers and those who collaborated with him on "King Richard."

"I deeply regret that my behavior has stained what has been an otherwise gorgeous journey for all of us,” he wrote, adding, “I am a work in progress.”

Smith, who won the best actor Oscar for his role in "King Richard," later announced he was resigning from the academy and would “accept any further consequences.”