On Friday, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences (AMPAS) Board of Governors voted to ban actor Will Smith from organization events – including the Oscars ceremony – for the next decade in the wake of his on-stage slap of comedian Chris Rock at this year’s festivities, and it did not take long for the star himself to publicly respond to the move, as Fox News reports.
In a statement issued to the press on the same day the industry organization handed down its decision, Smith declared simply, “I accept and respect the academy’s decision.”
The development comes after Smith’s announcement one week earlier that he was resigning from the Academy over his actions toward Rock, which he described as “shocking, painful, and inexcusable,” as The Hollywood Reporter noted.
“I betrayed the trust of the Academy. I deprived other nominees and winners of their opportunity to celebrate and be celebrated for their extraordinary work. I am heartbroken,” Smith said at the time.
“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,” the actor added.
In making public its decision to ban Smith from events for the next decade, the Academy board of governors expressed the organization’s own regret for how the incident was handled in real time, saying, “During our telecast, we did not adequately address the situation in the room. For this we are sorry.”
The group added,”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.”
“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. We also hop this can begin a time of healing and restoration for all involved and impacted,” the Academy’s statement concluded.
In an especially apt commentary on the excruciating level of wokeness that has gripped the Oscars telecast in recent years, Virginia lawmaker Nick Freitas joked on Twitter about the decision to ban Smith from attending for a period of 10 years, writing “Clearly, the Academy doesn’t understand the difference between a “punishment” and an “incentive.”