Actor Will Smith was issued a 10-year ban by the film Academy, after he disrupted the recent 94th Oscars by slapping presenter Chris Rock on stage. The ban prohibits Smith from attending all Academy-related events, both virtual and in-person, for a period of 10 years. It doesn’t, however, make him ineligible for nominations at the Oscars.
Smith had taken offence to a joke Rock made about his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. He’d walked up to the stage, and in a shocking moment, hit the comedian across the face. Less than an hour later, he won the Oscar for Best Actor, and in his speech, apologised to his fellow nominees and the Academy. A day later, he issued a public apology to Rock, and some time after that, announced his resignation from the Academy.
“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 Academy said in a statement, announcing Smith’s ban. The actor said that he accepts the decision, which means that he will not be able to attend next year’s ceremony as a presenter, as is tradition at the Oscars.
The decision to expel a member isn’t unheard of, although it is rare. It would have been even more unlikely for the Academy to revoke Smith’s Oscar. Before Smith, only a handful of individuals have been expelled by the Academy. Here’s a list:
Actor Carmine Caridi (The Godfather Part II) was the first person to be booted out of the Academy, after it was found that he had pirated screeners for dissemination on the internet. This happened in 2004.
Producer Harvey Weinstein’s Oscar wasn’t revoked after several allegations of sexual assault and harassment were made against him in 2017, but he was expelled from the Academy, which called his actions ‘repugnant, abhorrent, and antithetical to the high standards of the academy and the creative community it represents.’
Comedian and actor Bill Cosby was expelled a month after he was convicted of sexual assault in 2018.
Director Roman Polanski was expelled at the same time as Cosby. Both decisions were made in response to increasing public scrutiny on sexual misconduct in the industry. The allegations against Polanski had been public knowledge for decades, and he even won an Oscar despite that.
The most recent expulsion from the Academy came in 2021, when cinematographer Adam Kimmel was removed after it was found that he had a history of sexual offences against minors.